Artsy and important: Cheerfully pretentious ballerinas get ready for Christmas

It’s 21 years since the ballet premiered, following a tumultuous ending to the National Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ under the creative eye of Marius Petipa, who oversaw the work’s triumphant return. The lead role remained the story’s protagonist, the Sugar Plum Fairy, but many were moved to tears by Clara’s expressive journey.

Following a warm response in London and Paris, the production launched in Beijing in 1984 and rapidly sold out. The ballet reached Broadway just two years later and became a Las Vegas show in 2013. It has toured extensively across the globe ever since and will now come to London and New York for the first time this Christmas.

As for Clara, she’s fifteen years old in Moscow this year, while thousands of girls the world over get ready to dress for the part. Like any good ballerina, the hotel is extra exciting as she gets her dream assignment.

With stunning posters, television adverts and plenty of close-ups, the Nutcracker is one of the most iconic images in the ballet world. The Nutcracker children are introduced with a lifelike illustration and movement of Clara, or Sugar Plum Fairy, performing with a group of children.

All images: Nobuhiro Kubo

To celebrate the release of the Nutcracker: The Musical on DVD and Blu-ray in September, the BBC features this year’s group of ‘Nutcracker’ kids.

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