George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®

Choreography by: George Balanchine

Music by: Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky

As the clock chimes midnight, a brave young girl turns the tide in a battle between toy soldiers and mischievous mice, and a blizzard of ballerinas reveals a wonderful world of confection.

During the holiday period, the entire Company is immersed in activities surrounding George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®. All 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands and more than 125 children, in two alternating casts, from the School of American Ballet join forces to make each performance as magical as possible. Children of all ages from New York City and the nation fill the David H. Koch Theater to be captivated by the lure of Tschaikovsky's music, Balanchine's choreography, Karinska's sumptuous costumes, and Rouben Ter-Arutunian's magical sets. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®, based on the Alexandre Dumas pere version of E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816), demands a full-scale production.

The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers' imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 41 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance. Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer's head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).

While these technical achievements are wonderful fun, it is Balanchine's choreography that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Marie and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeier and his Nephew — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the "Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy" and there is no turning back.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker® is one of the most complex theatrical, staged ballets in the Company's active repertory. The popularity of the ballet is immense and it provides an unforgettable spark to everyone's holiday season.



Learn More About George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®

Read the Synopsis >
Learn About the History of the The Nutcracker and its Creators >
Discover Fun Facts About the Production >

Look for V.I.P "Sweet Seats"

With this special holiday package, each admission includes:
  • Premium Seating
  • Complimentary Souvenir Book
  • Complimentary Keepsake Photo

As a special keepsake, for every two tickets purchased, you’ll receive a voucher good for one complimentary keepsake photo with a character from the George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Plus, Sweet Seat ticket holders save 15% when purchasing additional photos at the Nutcracker Photo Opportunity. Seats are limited, so purchase your tickets early. (Please note that with Print at Home orders, Sweet Seat vouchers will be mailed to the billing address on your account.)
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The 2017-18 Season performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®
are generously sponsored by The Travelers Companies, Inc.

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The Nutcracker (1892)
February 2, 1954, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama
Original Cast
Maria Tallchief, Nicholas Magallanes, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Michael Arshansky, Alberta Grant, Susan Kaufman, Paul Nickel

Act I: 49 min. Act II: 41 min.
Costumes by
Karinska. Masks by Lawrence Vlady
Set by
Horace Armistead, Rouben Ter-Arutunian (1964)
Lighting by
Jean Rosenthal