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A “terrible” Russian Ballet that became famous

by Josh Barker
The Nutcracker is the most popular show around the holiday season. It has a long backstory. In Russia nuts were treats for the holidays much like eggnog in the States. If you have ever tried to crack a nut with its shell on, it is hard! They had nutcrackers which cracked the nuts. You would put the nut inside the solders opened mouth, and bring the stick in his back to close his mouth. Then when you opened it, you would have a perfectly cracked nut. A man named E.T.A. Hoffmann wrote the story. Then Tchaikovsky wrote an opera called Iolanta. After that Lev Ivanov made a ballet with music from Iolanta and the story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse king by Hoffmann. It originally was preformed in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 18th, 1892. Critics hated it.
One said, “One cannot understand anything. Disorderly pushing about from corner to corner and running backwards and forwards – quite armature.” It surprised critics, it surprised the producers, and the ordinary people kept on coming back! The Nutcracker was preformed often. Even with its bad ratings it was a success. Finally on Christmas Eve of 1944, the Nutcracker was performed in New York City, the first in America. Bits and pieces had been performed in the US before, but now the full Russian ballet had come. Since then it has always been a Christmas tradition. If the critics had been right, then it would have never performed again. Sometimes, it’s good to be wrong.

You can go see the Nutcracker. It is from December 11th-15th at the Grand Opera House in Downtown Macon.


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