The Nutcracker is one of my favourite family films at Christmas. It’s a magical fairytale with well-known music by Tchaikovsky that is truly beautiful.
We were really excited to hear the Russian State Ballet were coming to Cardiff to perform their version of The Nutcracker, so couldn’t miss the opportunity of taking my children to see it. As they are 4 and 6 years old I wasn’t sure how they would react as most things we have seen are usually loud and funny.
The performance started with the orchestra playing the opening music to set the scene. The view of the orchestra was amazing from our seats, so for the first time I watched the musicians play with great interest. This famous ballet is not just about the dance, the music plays a vital role too. It can elicit different emotions during the performance which you can interpret as you wish.
It is Christmas Eve and Uncle Drosselmeyer, a magical toymaker arrives with gifts. The uncle then entertains the children with lifelike dolls that dance and delight the children. Uncle Drosselmeyer’s Niece Clara is particularly fond of a Nutcracker doll and after midnight the toy comes to life. Clara is then taken on a magical journey to the land of the dolls but the Mouse King wants to kill the Nutcracker Prince.
It was mesmerising watching Clara pirouette on tip toe and glide effortlessly across the floor. The Nutcracker Prince held her in the air so gracefully, as though she were a feather. It was beautiful to watch but it must take so much strength to perform this time after time, not to mention endless hours of practice.
During the performance there is dancing from around the world that includes Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dances. The dance from China was particularly impressive because the ballerina actually hopped on tip toes. This may not sound much but for me that gave an extra wow factor.
My children really enjoyed the show and also enjoyed watching and listening to the orchestra too. My 6 year old commented that it would be great if the performers talked too, so maybe having some kind of narrative occasionally would be a good idea for younger audiences, just so they can understand a bit more about the story, but they still loved it regardless.