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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

David H. Koch Theater / New York / Stage

2020 was the year without The Nutcracker, but now, Thank God, it’s back. George Balanchine’s production, 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. 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—is in a class by itself. And when it climbs to the rafters, your soul climbs too. A beloved New York City tradition, the production glitters like an Old World ornament that’s been handed down through the generations. Of The Nutcracker and its power, Balanchine said, “In every person the best, the most important part is that which remains from his childhood.” All audience members 12 and older must show proof of vaccination. Children younger than 12 must show a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before the performance. —L.J.

David H. Koch Theater 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, USA
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