The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. The story is of a young girl who has dreams of a Prince, a Nutcracker, and a terrible battle against a Seven-Headed Mouse King. The ballet, though following the Hoffman story, more closely follows the revised story by Alexander Dumas.
The Party Scene: On Christmas Eve in a palatial home there is a Christmas tree as beautiful as any has ever been. The Stahlbaums, including their children, Clara and Fritz, are welcoming their family and friends. One friend, Drosselmeyer, arrives with two life-sized dolls adored by everyone in attendance. The children are given presents and Fritz, jealous of the “more beautiful” present given Clara, grabs her nutcracker and breaks it to Clara’s great consternation. Drosselmeyer however mysteriously repairs the Nutcracker like a magician with a handkerchief. The party ends and everyone is off to bed but Clara who returns to the tree and falls asleep holding on to her Nutcracker.
The Fight Scene: The clock strikes midnight, Clara shrinks, the toys around the tree find life and soon the Mouse King and an army of mice are at battle with the Nutcracker and his army of toy soldiers. The Nutcracker and toy soldiers cannot resist the onslaught of the mice and are captured. Clara comes to the rescues throwing her slipper and, with great precision, striking the Mouse King in the head. The mice retreat with the body of their king.
The Land of Snow: Dancing snowflakes in an enchanted forest welcome Clara and the Nutcracker who has turned into a Prince.
The Land of Sweets: Clara is taken to the Land of Sweets where she and the Nutcracker turned Prince encounter the Sugar Plum Fairy who, after hearing of the great battle, honors them with the rewards of dances: the Spanish Dance, the Arabian Dance, the Russian Dance, the Chinese Dance, the Mirliton Dance and the Waltz of Flowers. The final dance is a handsome Pas De Deux by the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier.
The Dream Ends: Clara wakes up from her sleep, still under the Christmas tree with her cherished Nutcracker.