December 10, 2017
For the last 50 years or so, the Nutcracker Ballet, a slightly sinister tale by E.T.A Hoffman, adapted by Alexander Dumas (he of Three Musketeers fame), and scored by the venerable Tchaikovsky, has become an integral part of the Holiday Season.
In America, particularly in larger cities where ballet company productions of this Holiday classic are a bit more accessible, an outing to see a performance of The Nutcracker during the Christmas season has become de riguer. While typically reserved for a small subset of U.S. citizens, the tradition has expanded of late and has begun to cut across socio-economic lines; those with less expendable cash still partake, but will often line up to see school and amateur productions of the ballet.
It is an event and story that has become synonymous with the Holiday season.
So, what makes it so special? What aspects of the story and/or the whole nature of going to see the ballet account for the fact that it has become a holiday tradition, bringing in upwards of 40% of a national ballet company's annual revenue?
While not big on any of the traditional holiday themes; there is no Santa Claus, no Nativity Scene, no carolers or Scrooge, it speaks to the essential wonder and sweetness of the season.
Replete with young children, magically expanding Christmas trees, wonderful toys along with sugar plum fairies and an inordinate amount of sweets, it creates a world of stunning imagery and awe-inspiring magic. It represents all that is good, pure and innocent about the holiday season. It is just what the doctor ordered.
There are other, less esoteric, more palpable reasons to help explain why parents take young children to see The Nutcracker Ballet, for the first, second, third or thirteenth time! It has become a widespread holiday tradition with roots in things less ethereal than dancing sugar plum fairies:
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