George Balanchine’s production of The Nutcracker, choreographed in 1954 for the six-year-old New York City Ballet, is lovingly rooted in the original Mariinsky production, created in 1892 by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Balanchine, who’d been a student at the Mariinsky, knew the ballet well, and today his Nutcracker is the best in the world. Due to the pandemic, this is the first year since 1954 that N.Y.C.B. isn’t performing the holiday classic. But you can stream a performance that was filmed live last season, in 2019. Maria Kowroski is the Sugar Plum Fairy, Tyler Angle is Her Cavalier, and Megan Fairchild is Dewdrop. The Christmas tree—which grows to 41 feet tall, 23 feet wide at the base, and with a projection of four feet and six inches—it, too, is in a class by itself. —L.J.
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