Photographed by Petya Shalamanova at The Geraghty.
The original production of The Nutcracker premiered on December 17, 1892, at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. The ballet was suggested by the Russian director Alexandrovitch Vsevolojsky as a collaboration between the well-known French choreographer Marius Petipa and famous composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Vsevolojsky suggested they work together to create a ballet based on the French version of a German children’s story, written by Alexandre Dumas senior. The original German tale was E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Together with his assistant, ballet master Lev Ivanov, Petipa began creating the steps in August of 1892. When Petipa got sick before finishing the ballet, Ivanov took over to complete the choreography, marking the beginning of The Nutcracker’s celebrated history.
Robert Joffrey’s version of The Nutcracker is based on the ballets’ first presentation in America by the Ballet Russ De Monte Carlo in 1940, which was Alexandra Fedorova’s restating of the original Petipa version. Using this performance as inspiration, Joffrey created the first truly American Nutcracker nearly half a century later, with the help of the company’s co-founder and world-class choreographer Gerald Arpino.
On December 10, 1987, The Joffrey Ballet presented its first production of The Nutcracker at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, IA. This world premiere was followed in the same month by performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the New York City Center. According to a review in The New York Times, the Joffrey’s production of The Nutcracker was something to write home about. The Nutcracker is now staged throughout America and incorporates American traditions. So while it is a relatively new version, Joffrey’s Nutcracker plays an important role in the ballet’s history by combining old and new elements within a uniquely American setting.
Conceived and Directed by Robert Joffrey. Choreography for Waltz of the Snowflakes and Waltz of the Flowers after the choreography of Gerald Arpino
Featured dancers: Victoria Jaiani and Rory Hohenstein