The Nutcracker by Todd Bolender

Choreography: Todd Bolender
Music: Peter Tchaikovsky

Relatives and friends gather in the parlor for a Christmas party given by Clara’s parents, Dr. and Frau Silberhaus. Clara’s Godfather, Herr Drosselmeier, is on his way to the party with wonderful toys for Clara and her brother, Fritz. Drosselmeier, a mysterious old inventor, arrives with many gifts, including life-sized dancing dolls. Clara is so thrilled with the dancing dolls that she wants one for herself, but her mother tells her that magic toys belong to children everywhere. Drosselmeier, seeing her disappointment, produces another gift — a beautiful hand-crafted wooden Nutcracker carved like a cavalier with a white beard and a mouth wide enough to crack nuts. Clara loves the Nutcracker, but Fritz is jealous of his sister’s gift. He grabs the Nutcracker from Clara and throws it to the floor, breaking it. Drosselmeier steps in to mend the Nutcracker, while Fritz is scolded for his bad behavior.

It is getting late, and everyone joins hands for the Grandparent’s Dance. Then one by one, the guests leave. Clara bids goodnight to her wonderful Godfather, Herr Drosselmeier. As the lights grow dim, Drosselmeier has made his final repairs to the toy Nutcracker and has returned it to Frau Silberhaus, Clara’s mother.

The parlor is dark and quiet as Clara slips downstairs to see if her Nutcracker is safe. Suddenly, she sees giant mice running across the floor and the Christmas tree grows to fill the entire room. The mice, led by the Mouse King, prepare to attack the now life-sized Nutcracker doll and toy soldiers. A terrible battle rages with the cannon booming and rifles cracking. The toy soldiers are carried off by the mice while the Nutcracker and the Mouse King duel. Clara comes to the rescue! She throws her tiny slipper at the Mouse King to distract him as the Nutcracker attacks. The Mouse King falls to the floor and his cowardly mice scamper away. The Nutcracker looks for Clara who, in all the excitement, has fallen faint onto the giant, toy bed. Magically the bed begins to move through the starry night. Drosselmeier appears from the darkness and waves his magic cape and, in a flash, the Nutcracker is turned into a handsome prince. He bows to Clara, places the Mouse King’s crown upon her head and escorts her on a journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets. On their way, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince find themselves in the middle of a snowy forest ruled by the regal Snow King and Queen. Clara and the Prince are given permission to pass through the forest as the Snow King and Queen and their snowflakes whirl around them.

As they finally approach the Kingdom of the Sweets, Clara and the Prince are greeted by Angels, followed by the dazzling Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. The Nutcracker Prince describes the battle and how Clara helped him defeat the Mouse King. The Sugar Plum Fairy congratulates Clara on her bravery and as a reward, leads her and the Prince to the royal candy throne to watch a festival in their honor. The drinks, candies and toys that children love come to life and dance for Clara and the Prince: Spanish chocolate, Arabian coffee, Chinese tea, Russian dolls with their candy whips, the Reed Pipes, funny Mother Ginger with her bonbon children and the candy flowers of every color. Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform the most beautiful dance of all. After a dazzling finale, when the dancing is done, Clara bids all a reluctant farewell and leaves the magical kingdom. It has been a magnificent adventure for Clara to cherish.

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