Nutcrackers

Nothing says the holiday season to me more than the ballet “The Nutcracker.” Tonight WETA is showing the 1977 American Ballet Theater version with Mikhail Baryshnikov – though it’s part of their pledge drive so I’m taking a break from childhood nostalgia to check out the local Nutcracker options. As a baby ballerina I was obsessed with the ABT version and tried to mimic Clara’s every move. But almost all ballet companies have their own take on the classic libretto, backed by Tchaikovsky’s memorable score. It’s about a girl who is given a special nutcracker as a Christmas present, and ends up on a magical journey towards womanhood. Corny? Sure, but also part of many a cherished girlhood dream.

Here in Washington, two top-notch companies will be performing their special spins on this tale – the venerable American Ballet Theater itself, and our own local Washington Ballet. ABT will be performing at the Kennedy Center from December 7 -11, and this will be the version familiar to most. The always creative Washington Ballet will be performing Artistic Director Septime Weber’s version (which debuted last year) with a distinctly Washingtonian flair at the Warner Theater all month, from tonight through December 24. I think this last is the one I want to see this year. They even promise Anacostian Indians!

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