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The Nutcracker Story

The Nutcracker ballet is based on a story by E. T. A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and The Mouse King. There are many different versions of the Nutcracker but The New Jersey Youth Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker goes something like this.

The Nutcracker

Act I

Scene I: A Christmas party at the Stahlbaum house where Clara is given the Nutcracker as a Christmas present.

The Nutcracker takes place on Christmas Eve in 19th century Germany. Where the Stahlbaum family is getting ready for their Christmas party. Everyone in the whole village is going to the Stahlbaum party. Mrs. Stahlbaum is running around trying to get everything ready. Clara Stahlbaum and her brother Fritz linger by the magnificent Christmas tree and try to guess what’s inside each carefully wrapped box. They anxiously await the arrival of the guests and the moment they can open their presents. Clara is quite a bit different from her brother. Clara is a sweet and thoughtful child where as her brother Frits is always up to no good. Later on we’ll see how Fritz causes some distress to Clara and her nutcracker. But… well, that’s later.

The guests arrive and greet each other with Christmas cheer. Everyone is happy to see each other. Clara dances with her friends and all the children laugh and play games. Fritz, as usual, causes trouble by taunting Clara and her friends and frightening them while they’re dancing. Of course Mrs. Stahlbaum doesn’t like this and she promptly reprimands Fritz.

As the evening continues even the parents join in the dancing. Like little children they skip, twirl, join hands and laugh until they are out of breath. In the midst of all the festivities the last guest arrives. He arrives mysteriously in a long black coat, and enters the parlor unannounced. It’s Uncle Drosselmeyer. He had tried to ring the bell but with all the commotion no one had heard it.

Uncle Drosselmeyer is Clara’s Godfather and although some of the other children have always been afraid of him, Clara is not. She’s very excited to see him and runs and gives him a big hug. It’s strange that the children are afraid of him because Drosselmeyer is a toymaker and a magician. When he arrives he greets the guests and then brings out three magical mechanical dolls; a rag doll, a ballerina doll, and a soldier doll.

Uncle Drosselmeyer winds up each toy one by one. The rag doll dances like he has no joints. He spins and flops around until he eventually finishes on the ground in a heap. The ballerina doll does a pretty dance on her toes. And, the soldier doll dances with strong, powerful movements. He jumps high in the air and moves swiftly around the parlor.

Continue to page 2 of The Nutcracker story.


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