Is there any ballet more loved around Christmas time than the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky? Where I live (Austria), if you are a good parent you take your kid to see it at least once. Expose them to the magic of classical music and dance, the charming story of the Nutcracker.
It is the traditional thing to do. A magical experience passed down from generation to generation.
In case you, like I, are not up to speed on the story, it goes like this:
It is set in Western Europe in the 1800’s. Hans Stahlbaum, doctor and mayor, loves to throw large holiday gatherings for friends and family. Fritz and Clara, his children, anxiously await the guests. It is snowing pleasantly. Late as usual, Clara’s godfather Herr Drosselmeyer finally arrives. He delights everyone with his wonderful mechanical dolls.
Makes you want to run out and buy tickets right away, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what we did when G’s music teacher said she’d organized a bus to take her whole music class to the theater. Unfortunately I had to work, so my wife and G went without me. After hearing their story, I wished I’d been there.
The excursion proved so popular that the teacher finally had to organize buses for two consecutive days. My wife and G went on the second day, and my wife noticed that the teacher was a little nervous but thought nothing of it.
Put yourself in the teacher’s shoes. She has sixty non-refundable tickets. She has a bus full of sixty mothers and children all around the age of six, and she is the only one who knows it is a modern production of The Nutcracker they are going to see.
“The music is the same, but the choreography, well… Do you know what choreography is? That is the dancing…” She explained the concept to the children. She was very good. She was making the most of this.
Still, the mothers thought nothing of it. They didn’t really think anything of the fact that the Nutcracker was a muscular black dancer wearing nothing but brief pink silk underpants, either.
“I thought it was a bit strange when they were evicted from their mansion and had to live in the streets as homeless people,” my wife said. That hadn’t been in the version she had seen before. “Especially when the governess made the children prostitute themselves.”
The teacher sank lower and lower into the plush red velvet of her seat as the ballet progressed. Strictly speaking, it was modern dance, and not ballet.
“They weren’t dancing on their toes,” G said when she got home.
The mothers knew they were in the wrong production when the Nutcracker took young Fritz from behind and sodomized him.
After it finally ended, the mortified music teacher asked the kids their opinions of the show. “We all lied to her and said we liked it,” G said.