The Nutcracker is one the most well known ballets in the history of Ballet. Most of us remember hearing it as bedtime story during Christmas time or otherwise. Surprisingly, it’s debut in 1892 was not well received and deemed a flop. Most criticism was directed towards the dancers, however there was quite a bit of mixed reviews. The choreography, originally designed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov was also target of criticism. Alexandre Benois said of it “One can not understand anything. Disorderly pushing about from corner to corner and running backwards and forwards – quite amateurish.” The ballet is only two-acts with music written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in December along side one of Tchaikovsky’s operas.
Although the original production was not a success, the Nutcracker has since enjoyed enormous popularity. It was brought back to life in 1954 by George Balanchine and has enjoyed great success ever since. It is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season. In the United States most major American ballet companies generate more than 40 percent of their annual ticket revenues from performances of The Nutcracker alone. Not to mention it being a household name nowadays. I guess in some way we are fortunate for its reprise by in the early 1960’s. Without this movement most of our childhood Christmas’ would not have been the same. This goes go to show that not every great work of art is immediately appreciated. We can apply this notion to music and dance lessons as well, you may have a rough week from time to time and feel as though your talent too is under-appreciated either by yourself or others around you. You are simply a duckling and your swan-hood is wait just around the practice bend.