Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet, set in the Chicago World's Fair of 1893

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite is one of my favorite albums to play during the holidays. The vinyl we have is four disks, one of which can be found in the record player at any given time in December. Going to see The Nutcracker ballet is something I often did with my mom growing up. Living in a city now, I have wanted to see a high-production version of this classic since moving here. My coworkers and I did an office outing together and went to the Joffrey Ballet! 

Last year, the Joffrey Ballet re-imagined their rendition of The Nutcracker to take place in Chicago during 1893, at the time of the World's Fair. Of course, photos weren't allowed while the performance was happening, so I linked to images from the web below if you're interested in the Joffrey Ballet's interpretation. Some of the traditional sets and costumes of the ballet were fabricated instead to fit the World's Fair and it's iconic imagery. The Land of Sweets was swapped out for World's Fair, making a gorgeous backdrop for the dreamland. Throughout the second act, the World's Fair can be seen in the background, toying with your imagination as if you were truly there. 

Like traveling around the world in Epcot, the different pavilions at the World's Fair represented countries, which were interpreted by the different ballet dances. The Chocolate/Spanish dancers would have been seen at the Spain pavilion, like the Coffee/Arabian dance would be at an Arabic pavilion, and the Tea/Chinese dancers at a China pavilion. Instead of candy canes for the Russian dance, it was Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show from the fair, and Marzipan/the dance of the reed flutes was instead a Venetian dance. Lastly, the Mother Ginger and the Polichinelles was instead a Mother Nutcracker with little nuts dancing across the stage, it was so sweet! The Waltz of the Flowers was represented by a beautifully colorful dance of World's Fair visitors - I love their outfits! (Very reminiscent of my favorite video game, Bioshock Infinite.) And the Sugar Plum Fairy was instead the Queen of the Fair, a gold statue that watched over the guests (you can see the actual statue here). 

Chicago Philharmonic was the orchestra, which I had the pleasure of seeing a few months ago perform one of my favorite Carl Orff pieces from Carmina Burana. It was such a wonderful office outing. The performances were so incredible, the dancers extremely talented, and the set design were truly dreamlike. It's something that I would love to do every year, to start the holidays on a beautiful note. 


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