* for one ticket to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (up to value) * Where: Academy of Music * Seating: general-admission amphitheater * Door time: 30 minutes before showtime * Full offer value includes ticketing fees
- Wednesday, December 24, at noon
- Saturday, December 27, at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.
- Sunday, December 28, at noon or 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, December 30, at 2 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 31, at noon
Based on a novel by 19th-century romantic fabulist E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker weaves a magical tale of holiday adventure around one of the most recognizable scores in the ballet repertoire. It begins when young Clara receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, she suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a well-thrown shoe to the Mouse King’s head, Clara and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets to celebrate.
Throughout their adventures, Tchaikovsky’s dazzling inventiveness propels the dances of nimble flowers and regal fairy queens. The “Waltz of the Snowflakes” floats weightlessly above the angelic voices of a youth choir, whereas the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” tiptoes to the haunting, music-box chimes of a celesta. A medley of exotic national dances—including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak—add to the phantasmagoric celebration before the whole dream ends, as all dreams must.
Pennsylvania Ballet has deep ties to dance history. The company was formed in 1963 by Barbara Weisberger, a protégé of the great George Balanchine. Perhaps due to that remarkable connection, the ballet's mission has always been to celebrate the classics. An annual staging of Balanchine's The Nutcracker and other favorites pay tribute to dance's traditional beauty. But the artists still look to the future of the art form, which surprisingly doesn't involve pieces set to laserbeats. The group is known for innovative takes on canonical fixtures, from a re-imagined Swan Lake to the world premiere of Matthew Neenan's Carmina Burana.