The Nutcracker by Lily McArdle and Bodil Jane

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In 1891, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky began working on his third ballet, the first two being the magical Swan Lake, my personal favourite, and the second, The Sleeping Beauty. This one was The Nutcracker, an adaptation into music and dance of the original 1816 story by E.T.A. Hoffman, in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favourite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.

Part of the score for the ballet is the famous Waltz of the Flowers and it is this which sets this version of the story aside from others because the book includes a wind-up music box mechanism that allows the reader to listen to the music as well as the words. So while the story is a somewhat abridged version of the original (although it covers all the main aspects) it will inspire many to not only seek out the story but also the music and the ballet.

It used to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in her tutu that garnered all the attention but now nutcrackers are becoming a common part of Australian Christmas decorations so sharing this story will add extra meaning to the Christmas dinner festivities, particularly if it is also the choice of the background music! A stunning gift for any budding ballerina.

The Waltz of the flowers can be found here.

Themes: Nutcrackers, Music, Ballet.

Barbara Braxton