Peter Darrell, founding director of The Scottish Ballet,
choreographed ‘The Nutcracker’ show. The performance was first choreographed by
Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in 1892 and Darrell created his own version in
The first act begins on Christmas Eve where the Colonel and
his wife are throwing a party for their family and friends. The children are
given their presents before Drosselmeyer, a magician, appears and gives Clara her
Christmas present, a nutcracker. Fritz, who is Clara’s borther, breaks her
nutcracker prince which is soon fixed by a relative. Clara later goes to find
her nutcracker as she struggles to sleep, soon falling asleep on the floor.
Clara is awoken when the clock strikes midnight to find herself surrounded by
huge mice. Drosselmeyer returns to change the nutcracker doll into a real
prince. A fight between the Prince and his soldiers and the mice and King Rat
begins, Clara attacks the King Rat, winning the battle. Clara and the Prince
are sent to the land of ice and snow, by Drosselmeyer. They are then met with
the Snow Queen and her Snowflake Fairies. To end the act, Clara and the Prince
leave on a sleigh.
The second act commences with Clara and the Prince arriving
in the land of sweets, where they are welcomed by the Sugar Plum Fairy. There
are a number of dances performed to signify sweets from different countries
including Spain, Arabia, China, Russia, France and England. This is then
followed on by the Waltz of the Flowers and finally a pas de deux, performed by
the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince. Clara then falls back asleep and we are
returned to the room where her parents find her still hugging the nutcracker in
her arms and then carry her to her bed.
The story of ‘The Nutcracker’ is set in Germany, in the late
1870’s. The main characters are Clara, the Prince and Drosselmeyer.
Darrell effectively uses movement to represent the main
characters’ roles. Clara is a young girl who is excited about Christmas and
receiving her nutcracker prince, therefore, her movement involves many jumps
and turns to show her emotions. The Prince performs big, strong movements to
show power, this involves a lot of fast pirouettes and grand jetés. Drosselmeyer performed sudden
movements as well as appearing as if he was floating, this represents his
magical and mysterious personality.