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Great Russian Nutcracker

What kid can’t relate to the fantasy of their favorite Christmas present coming to life? In 1892, audiences at the premiere of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker initially balked at the abrupt leap from scenes of yuletide revelry to an epic battle between a Rat King and toy soldiers, but Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score has since spirited away generations of youngsters into the realms of ballet and classical music. The Moscow Ballet’s roots in children’s theatre make this production extra fanciful. Elaborate puppets from traditions around the world will adorn the Majestic Theatre, including a flying firebird, a 12-foot-tall dancing unicorn and — new this year — a peacock with a tail that spans eight feet. The Russian troupe’s “Dance with Us” initiative casts San Antonio ballet students in a variety of roles, from mice to snowflakes, continuing The Nutcracker’s tradition of involving young dancers. The “Dove of Peace” — a hallmark of the Moscow Ballet’s production — will also grace the stage, a unique performance in which two dancers create a single elegant creature. This invention is the most prominent of several changes the company has made to the traditional libretto, designed to bring a message of peace and goodwill to audiences at all 144 stops on the Great Russian Nutcracker’s 27th North American tour.

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