Three Ladies Dancing

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all Dancelines readers and friends.

For me, the sound of Christmas will always be Tchaikovsky’s exquisite music for the grand pas de deux in Nutcracker.

Anna Pavlova was the first ballerina to bring Christmas to Australia with her ballet of the same name.

The photo was dedicated in Australia to the artist and publisher Sydney Ure Smith and is one of the treasures in the State Library of New South Wales.

Around the world, the best known Christmas ballet image is the Nutcracker tree that grows taller and taller as Clara gazes in amazement.

But my own favourite Christmas ballet is the Australian Ballet’s Nutcracker, created by Graeme Murphy and Kristian Fredrikson, in which the older Clara, a former ballerina, brings a tiny Christmas tree into her Melbourne home, turns on her radio, listens to the music of Nutcracker and greets the men and women she danced with decades ago.

I wish I could find a clip of that scene but the video below is just as poignant, showing some of the last scenes of the ballet.

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Anna Pavlova, in costume for Christmas, photo, S’Ora, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

Anna Pavlova, in costume for Christmas, photo, S’Ora, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

The Nutcracker, the Royal Ballet, 2009, photo © Johan Persson

The Nutcracker, the Royal Ballet, 2009, photo © Johan Persson

Ai-Gul Gaisina in Nutcracker, the Story of Clara, the Australian Ballet, photo © Branco Gaica

Ai-Gul Gaisina in Nutcracker, the Story of Clara, the Australian Ballet, photo © Branco Gaica