Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
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Balanchine's Nutcracker is still winning!

Balanchine resisted making a grand story ballet because his was the heart of an inventor -- always finding a new frontier in the range of ideas that could be encompassed by ballet. Creating Nutcracker was a concession to the City Center board of directors, who wanted NYCB every now and then to do a piece geared to popular taste. Balanchine understood, with generosity, that a public has a range of preferences. His Nutcracker awakened every possible yearning of the soul for people of all ages: the yearning for life's magical touches, for comfort when someone hurts us, for protection, for romance, and for personal effectiveness. So a young girl, falling asleep after a Christmas party in which her marvelous Nutcracker toy is broken by her envious brother, enters a wonder-filled living dream. She is defended from harm by a heroic Nutcracker, yet she provides the key act that enables her hero to defeat their mortal enemy. Their reward for their courage is a land of enchantment that they will live in, together, forever. Glorious spare-no-expense sets and costumes, family life with its joys and frustrations, gifts beyond imagining, and beauty embodied by brilliant dancers and choreography --  no wonder Nutcracker keeps going strong not only at New York City Ballet, but in countless productions wherever there are ballet dancers.

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