Dance: Tis the Nutcracker Season

"It's a fairy tale, it's magic, it's entertainment," says Choreographer George Balanchine. "It's like beautiful flowers: they don't tell you anything, but they make you feel good." Balanchine is talking about the ballet known in Germany as Der Nussknacker, in France as Casse-Noĩsette and throughout the English-speaking world as The Nutcracker. Not even Walt Disney could top it. Right on stage a Christmas tree grows magically to an enormous height. A nutcracker doll springs to life, defends its young mistress, Marie, against an army of huge mice, then turns into a young prince....

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