The Nutcracker Story

ACT I, SCENE I: The Living Room
The Silberhauses, a 19th century, well-to-do German
family, are having a Christmas party. Daughter Clara,
her brother Fritz and their friends receive gifts from her
Godfather, Uncle Drosselmeyer, a man whom Clara sees
as mysterious and magical. Drosselmeyer gives the
children dolls….amazing life-sized mechanical toys and a
Nutcracker painted like a brave Prussian officer. Fritz
breaks the nutcracker, but Drosselmeyer quickly fixes
it. Among the guests are the Ratheimers, a wealthy
couple who have little time to be polite. The children
mock them behind their backs. After the guests have
left, Clara comes back to the living room, sits in a chair
and falls asleep. In those days, as now, even the nicest
homes could have pests; Clara awakens to mice scurrying
all around her! The clock strikes midnight, and Uncle
Drosselmeyer appears with the Nutcracker.
Clara shrinks to the size of the Nutcracker, and the
scene in this holiday land, beneath the tree, turns
sinister….menacing rats appear. The Nutcracker
marshals an army of toy soldiers and engages the rats in
Leading the rats is their tall, slender king who somehow
seems to bear the resemblance to the rude Herr
Ratheimer. Clara helps the Nutcracker and the soldiers
win the fight. A procession of angels arrives to clear
away the body of the Rat King and his mourning soldiers
ACT I, SCENE III: The Land of the Snow Queen
With peace restored, the angels usher in the Snow
Queen and her retinue of Snowflakes, who dance Clara
and the Nutcracker into the second act.
ACT II: Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy
The Snow Queen sends Clara and the Nutcracker to the
Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy where they are
entertained by a series of dances: Spanish, Arabian,
Chinese and Russian; the stupendously-skirted Madame
Ginger and her assortment of toys; the delicate piping
Reed Flutes and the magnificent Waltz of the Flowers.
Climaxing this dance-fantasy is the Grand Pas de Deux
with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. The story
ends with the realization…haven’t you guessed…? It was
all Clara’s dream.

Ballet Minnesota’s The Classic Nutcracker program

Performance program PDF


Activity sheets

Click to download PDF:

Ballet Minnesota’s Nutcracker Bingo

Nutcracker Fun Facts Sheet