By: Stacy Keith
One of the most enduring traditions is The Nutcracker. For thousands of families, this Holiday tradition endures for generations. It is a beautiful ballet and one which is so great for children to view because it consists of beautiful costumes, fairies, a prince and a not so scary villain. Adapted from the 1816 short story by E.T.A. Hoffman The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The ballet was created in 1892 with two acts originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Though the initial debut was not a success, Tchaikovsky extracted a 20 minute suite from the original production which was extremely successful. His score has become one of his most favorite compositions and is forever linked with magic, Christmas and beauty.
Lubbock is so lucky to have Ballet Lubbock which faithfully produces this ballet every year to the delight of thousands. In 2021, in its debut at the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences along with new sets and costumes, each show sold out. It is a staple of the Holiday season in Lubbock. A version of the show is also available to students who are able to experience it for free through Ballet Lubbock’s partnership with Lubbock Independent School District.
The production is choreographed by Artistic Director Yvonne Racz Key. Key played main character Clara as a student under Suzanne Aker, Ballet Lubbock’s founding director, so it is an homage to her past as she creates this meticulously staged and cast production each year. It is one of the jewels of Lubbock. An experience not to be missed in the Hub city each year.
Need a quick primer? We’re happy to help. The first act begins at a grand Christmas party with children and parents enjoying Holiday presents and festivities when a mysterious stranger appears. He is Drosselmeyer (councilman, magician and God-father to the children). He brings many toys, but the most special is a carved Nutcracker for main character Clara and brother Fritz. Like many little brothers, Fritz ends up breaking the special toy, but Drosselmeyer is able to repair it. During the night, when everyone else has left, Clara returns to check on the Nutcracker and a magical transformation of the room occurs. Act II takes place in the beautiful Land of Sweets where all of the magic you can imagine occurs – a brave prince fighting a villain, a beautiful fairy and a happy ending for all.
I grew up attending the Nutcracker each year with my family in another Texas city, but I love that the music and story can take me back to my childhood and those memories of when I was a little girl. The performance is special because of the way it unites us as an audience some of us seeing it many times and others seeing it for their first.
Don’t let the magic of this tradition get away from you this season. To purchase tickets, just click here. This year’s performances are December 8-11 and will surely be another sell out.