Nutcracker Ballet’s 120th anniversary honoured in Google Doodle

18 Dec 2012

Today’s doodle marks 120 years since the two-act ballet, The Nutcracker, premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia. Though it was not an immediate success, the famous 20-minute suite extracted by Tchaikovsky endures as a firm favourite to this day, particularly at Christmas time.

The ballet was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and tells the story of a magical Christmas Eve when toys come to life, a battle is fought, and a little girl is whisked away by a prince to the Land of Sweets where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky selected eight of the numbers from the ballet for The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a, including an altered version of the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’, for concert performance. The suite was immensely popular and almost 50 years later featured in Disney’s Fantasia.

Both the ballet and the suite have been frequently referenced in popular culture, with the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ appearing as background music in both the NES version of Tetris, levels of Yoshi’s Story for Nintendo 64, and the figure skating event in Wii Winter Olympics.

Performances of The Nutcracker ballet will take place in The Convention Centre Dublin this December.


Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.