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Connecticut Nutcracker Ballet
Nutcracker Story
As interpreted and performed by Connecticut Concert Ballet
ACT I

Mouse TailsIt’s Christmas Eve, 1892 at the Stahlbaum family estate. The Stahlbaum mansion is an elegant and stately home befitting a successful merchant of the time. The main parlor is wrapped in fine oak paneling and a crackling fireplace sends forth an inviting warmth – a cozy refuge from the cold winter’s night. The Main Parlor is accessed from the grand hall which is dominated by a sweeping marble staircase that ascends to the mansion’s other many finely decorated chambers. The mansion is decorated for the holiday season. Wreaths and mistletoe adorn its thresholds and mantles. A freshly cut Christmas tree stands proudly in the corner of the Parlor and fine imported porcelain and glass ornaments gently hang from its branches .

Mouse TailsThe Stahlbaums prepare for their annual Christmas party, and their children, Fritz and Clara, await the arrival of their guests. The guests arrive and formal greetings are exchanged. The festivities begin with dancing and celebration. Suddenly, a mysterious guest appears in their midst dressed in dark clothing, frightening them. After a moment of trepidation, Clara realizes this mysterious visitor is her Godfather, Drosselmeyer the toymaker. Drosselmeyer with great fanfare unveils gifts for the children.

The girls receive dolls and the boys receive bugles and trumpets from him. Clara is given the best gift of all, a beautiful Nutcracker. As Clara dances and shows her magnificent gift to the guests, Fritz snatches the Nutcracker away from Clara in a fit of jealously. Playing keep away with the other boys, he taunts Clara. In a final show of disdain, he throws the Nutcracker to the ground and stomps on it, breaking it in two. Clara is shattered and begins crying. But quickly Drosselmeyer comes to her rescue and mends the Nutcracker with a handkerchief.

Mouse TailsThe evening grows late, the children grow sleepy and the festivities draw to a close. The guests thank the Stahlbaum’s for a joyous evening and bid them goodnight. The Stahlbaum family makes preparations to retire for the evening, and maids and servants quietly exchange gifts as the mansion grows still. Clara quietly creeps back to the now darkened Parlor to check on her Nutcracker one more time before bed. As she primps and plays with the Nutcracker, she drifts off into a sleep in a winged chair in the Parlor.

At the stroke of midnight Clara awakes. The house, the tree and the toys seem to be getting larger around her. Suddenly, an army of mice, lead by the ferocious Mouse King, begin to circle the room and taunt Clara. Clara uses the Nutcracker to ward off their attacks, but the attack becomes more frenzied. Drosselmeyer suddenly re-appears in black cape, and animates the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker leads his animated toy soldier army into battle formation against the mice army. The Mouse King traps the Nutcracker prince, but Clara comes to his rescue, throwing her slipper and striking the Mouse King. He is momentarily distracted, and the Nutcracker makes his move. They thrust their swords at each other. The Mouse King is slain and the mice army quickly carries away their defeated King. But, the Nutcracker is mortally wounded and slowly falls to the floor. As his animated life ebbs away, he is suddenly transformed into a real life young prince.

Clara is filled with wonder and joy at the site of her prince. Taking her by the hand, the Prince leads Clara onto a reindeer driven sleigh which guides her through a winter wonderland known as the Land of the Snow. Snow fairies and snowflake maidens dance in an enchanted snowscape. Act I closes with snow falling gently as fairies dance in delight and Clara heads onward to a land of fantasy.

ACT II

After their magical journey through the snow forest, they come to their destination in the Land of Sweets, and they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The prince re-enacts the terrible battle and the night’s frightful events. The Sugar Plum Fairy is impressed with Clara’s bravery and the Prince’s heroism. She invites them to return to the castle. Clara is treated like royalty and a series of courtiers begin their festive dances in celebration of the Nutcracker prince’s heroic feat.

The Spanish Dance - Hot coco a Spanish dancer performs a fandango to the lively music of trumpets and castanets of the Spanish.

The Arabian Dance - The coffee dance is performed by a mysterious and exotic veiled dancer to an Arabian song.

The Russian Dance - Russian Matroishkas dolls follow with a rousing Russian Trepak.

The Mirliton Dance - Austrian shepardesses perform a folk dance and call to their flocks. After they finish, the sheep wander into the court to participate in the activities. Clara and the attendants gently lead the sheep in a playful dance.

The Chinese Dance – Chinese dancers perform to an uplifting Chinese inspired melody, evoking the mystery of the Far East

Next Mother Ginger, a towering woman dressed in festive baking clothes and large hoop dress enters the court along with her gingerbread dancers and spice drops. They perform a raucous dance celebrating the joys of gingerbread and spices.

After Mother Ginger exits, a heavenly harp calls in dancing flowers who perform an enchanting waltz.

The Flower Dance - The flowers dance in beautiful synchronization like flowers bending in unison to the wind.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - As the flowers finish, the court grows quiet and the dashing Prince enters the floor. He escorts the Sugar Plum Fairy to the center. The Sugar Plum Fairy performs a solo dance. Then, she is joined by the Prince and they perform a ‘pas de duex’ and move about effortlessly dancing and spinning. The Sugar Plum Fairy is lifted soaring above the Prince and as they glide to and fro.

This final dance signals the end of Clara’s fantasy evening. The Sugar Plum Fairy’s festival concludes when everyone joining on the court for a final dance. They bid Clara farewell as she is lifted back into the magical sleigh for return to home.

Clara wakes up the next morning under the Christmas tree with her Nutcracker still in her arms.

 
 
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