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Watch: Why The Royal Ballet never tire of performing The Nutcracker

Each and every time it returns, the cast and creative team work tirelessly to ensure that Peter Wright's classic ballet is up to the Company's supremely high standards.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

16 December 2016 at 11.29am | 6 Comments

‘It just wouldn’t be Christmas without it!’ enthuses Principal dancer Lauren Cuthbertson of The Royal Ballet's classic production of The Nutcracker.

In this film, shown as part of the production's live cinema relay earlier this month, Cuthbertson is joined by other members of the cast and the creative team to discuss why performers love the Christmas ballet just as much as audiences.

‘You can’t help but get bowled over by the spectacle of it all – the scenery, the growing tree and the tricks and transformations,’ says Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare. ‘But also the score by Tchaikovsky is amazing and the way Peter Wright has put the choreography to it really tells the story.’

Lauren's fellow Principal Francesca Hayward also shares her thoughts on why the role of Clara continues to captivate audiences: ‘It’s like when you are a little girl and [imagining that] the boy on the poster in your bedroom comes to life. Like Zayn Malik! It would be quite a cool thing to happen.’

Regarding the choreography, Cuthbertson says the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy is particularly demanding: ‘You have to make it feel very ethereal and light, but it’s very challenging. I don’t really want to say this to ruin the magic, but it’s so hard!’

The film also takes you behind-the-scenes into the rehearsal process, where Guest Principal Ballet Master of The Royal Ballet Christopher Carr schools the Company on each revival.

‘I was there when Peter Wright was creating it!’ says Carr of the 32-year-old production. 'I don’t like shortcuts, I don’t like fudging. I like it to be as clear and crisp as it can be. I push them to the limit – because I want it to be the very best that it can be.’

The production features almost all the Company's dancers, as well as students of The Royal Ballet School who perform the roles of the toy soldiers, the mice, smaller snowflakes and the gingerbread men.

‘I think its going to change my life a little bit,’ explains one student during rehearsals, because I can say to my friends and family "I’ve been in The Nutcracker".’

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House website:

BBC Two will broadcast a special 90-minute documentary following the process of staging The Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker on Christmas Day 2016 at 4pm.

The Nutcracker runs until 12 January 2017. Tickets have now sold out, but returns may become available.

The production is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels and is staged with generous philanthropic support from The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Patrick John Gordon Shaw responded on 16 December 2016 at 5:36pm Reply

    It would be inspirational if the documentary were to be released on DVD after BBC transmission! Any plans for that in the pipeline?

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 21 December 2016 at 10:37am

      Hi Patrick,
      There are no plans for the BBC documentary to be released on DVD. However, it will be available on i-player for 30 days after it has been shown on Christmas Day.
      All best wishes,

  2. Beth McKey responded on 16 December 2016 at 8:04pm Reply

    Oh thank you so much, wonderful!!!

  3. mick sturt responded on 17 December 2016 at 3:09pm Reply

    it is the start of christmas...i was fortunate to see this at a cinema of the live broadcast on dec was just incredible i urge all to see it...the music the Ballet dancers the whole thing was just fantastic...thanks to all for bringing this story to life

  4. J Turner responded on 19 December 2016 at 1:56am Reply

    Yes, wonderful - highly recommended. I saw it earlier this month "up north" via Livestream. A joy to watch - 2+ hours seems to rush by. Hope to see Woolf Works on 8th Feb and/or The Sleeping Beauty on 28 Feb. Love to see something at the ROH itself one day - well I can dream. No sign of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland returning, alas. Missed that, tch.

  5. Manon1753 responded on 21 December 2016 at 11:55am Reply

    BBC's i-player is not available abroad. Not even if you are a paid up TV licence payer in this country. So, no docs for us. Pity.

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