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The Nutcracker On Tour at UTEP

December 3, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Just Announced: The Nutcracker coming to the Magoffin Auditorium December 3-5!

Tickets On Sale Now http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/yotuxh

The Nutcracker On Tour

Every adaptation of The Nutcracker is the same, yet each The Nutcracker is different from all others. Although it premiered in Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre on December 18, 1892, composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker wouldn’t become the dependably magical holiday-season reaffirmation of Christmas joy we know and love until decades later.

Marius Petipa, who commissioned Tchaikovsky’s music, and Lev Ivanov originally choreographed the world’s most popular ballet. It was loosely based on Alexandre Dumas’ The Story of a Nutcracker, the French writer’s adaptation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which was a fantastical story by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Mourning the recent death of his sister, Tchaikovsky was often unhappy while composing the work, which he nonetheless imbued with some of his most enduringly gorgeous music. (The descending melody in the adagio section of the “Grand Pas de Deux” is said to reflect his feelings.)

Russian ballet was flourishing at the time The Nutcracker debuted, and no expense was spared. In Petipa’s production, 60 snowflakes wore long white tutus and matching crowns adorned with fluff balls. The battle scene’s soldiers, meanwhile, were recruited from a military academy rather than ballet school, leading to a less-than-elegant confrontation.

The Nutcracker was fated to become more popular abroad than in its birthplace, and was subsequently tailored to suit its new audiences. Encouraged by local Russian émigrés, Willam Christensen mounted the first full American production in San Francisco in 1944. Ten years later, George Balanchine choreographed a landmark version for the New York City Ballet, imbuing it with what Nutcracker Nation author Jennifer Fisher calls its “familial feeling.” Balanchine’s version was broadcast on national television a few years later with narration by June Lockhart (of Lassie fame).

While nearly every subsequent version of The Nutcracker contains falling snow, fighting mice, dancing candy, and a growing tree (asked to produce it without the tree, Balanchine reportedly replied, “No, the ballet is the tree”), some intriguing mutations have emerged. These include Nutcrackers on ice, the animated adaptation Walt Disney included in the 1940 movie Fantasia, and The Harlem Nutcracker, a swinging jazz revision by choreographer Donald Byrd.

A remarkably resilient blend of complex classical ballet, popular imagery, and holiday nostalgia, The Nutcracker has taken on a life of its own since it first appeared one cold Russian winter over 100 years ago.

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