The Nutcracker is based on a story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" written by E.T.A. Hoffman. What is seen on the stage today is much different. E.T.A Hoffman's version is very dark and cold. When Marius Petipa decided to choreograph The Nutcracker he based his version on the much happier revised version by Alexander Dumal.
The Party Scene
It is Christmas at the Stahlbaum House. The Stahlbaum's have two children, Fritz and Clara. As the curtain opens, the audience is invited into the festive party as everyone is arriving. Parents visit and dance, while the children play and sing. Fritz and Clara's godfather Dr. Drosselmeyer arrives as the party begins. Drosselmeyer has brought gifts, for he makes mechanical clocks and toys. Tonight he has brought Dolls and Butterflies to dance for the children. The children begin to open gifts and Drosselmeyer presents his to Fritz and Clara. Although his gift to Fritz is quite nice, his gift to Clara, the Nutcracker, is the hit of the party. Fritz, being a bit jealous, grabs the nutcracker from Clara. A struggle occurs and the Nutcracker breaks. Soon the guest departs and everyone goes to bed. But Clara, worried about her beloved Nutcracker, sneaks back to the tree to check on him, where strange things begin to happen.
The Fight Scene
Clara hears a noise while checking on her nutcracker. Before she knows it, mice surround her. The mice are lead by a horrible mouse king. But not to fear magical things begin to happen. The Christmas tree begins to grow as an army of soldiers enters lead by the Nutcracker. After a lengthy battle the mouse king almost triumphs over the Nutcracker but Clara removes her shoe throwing it at the Mouse King, destroying him. Angels appear and once again magical things start to happen. The Nutcracker turns into a handsome prince. He whisks Clara away in his sleigh pulled by white fairies. They travel through the Land of Snow where they enjoy a performance of the Snow Queen and her court of snowflakes.
The Land of Sweets
They travel on to the Land of Sweets where sweets from all lands dance for her. Chocolate came from Spain, Coffee from Arabia, Tea from China, and Peppermint from Russia. Mother Ginger brought her sweets to dance and the Sugar Plum Fairy gathered the flowers for a waltz for Clara. All parties must end, even the fun ones.So with a blink of an eye, Clara appears under the tree again. Was it real or was it a dream?