George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™
Delight in the Philadelphia region’s most beloved holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. A must-see for children and adults alike, this production boasts glittering sets and costumes, world-class dancing, dozens of young students from The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and all the flair of a Broadway spectacular. The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and Philadelphia Boys Choir bring the masterful Tschaikovsky score to life. Get lost in the story of Marie’s magical gift, a suspenseful battle between soldiers and mice, and the dreamy Land of Sweets. Plus, there’s no more enchanting setting than the breathtaking Academy of Music.
A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. This had an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Balanchine accepted the invitation of American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein to create a ballet company in the United States in 1933. At Balanchine's request, Kirstein was also prepared to support the formation of a ballet school that would eventually rival the long-established academies of Europe.
The School of American Ballet, founded in 1934, was the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Several ballet companies directed by the partnership were created and dissolved in the years that followed, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, the New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983.
Balanchine's more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamedSymphony in C (1947), Orpheus (1948), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), Ballo della Regina (1978), and Mozartiana (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky's Variations for Orchestra, was created in 1982.
He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway's On Your Toes (1936). The musical was later made into a movie.
Pennsylvania Ballet was founded 1963 by Balanchine student Barbara Weisberger, and continues to be a company steeped in Balanchine style and repertoire, in addition to being committed to new works that continue to contribute to the vitality of the art form.