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If you are a bunhead, then you probably have watched a ballet or two in your time, maybe even some special Christmas ballet performances!
I wanted to share some of my favorite, most magical classical ballets so that you can experience the magic of ballet at Christmas. If you need to brush up on your ballet lingo, this post breakdown the best ballet dictionary books.
I want to first define what a Christmas ballet even is and then I will share my must-see ballet stories.
What is the Christmas ballet called?
The Christmas ballet is The Nutcracker! Set to the score of Tchaikovsky, it is one of the most famous Christmas ballets! This storyline was originally from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s, “Nutcracker and The Mouse King”, which is a darker version of what we know and love today.
Why is the nutcracker associated with Christmas?
This iconic ballet was first performed in Russia in 1892 with the storyline centering around a young girl named Clara on Christmas Eve. Clara is given a nutcracker as a gift, who eventually comes to life to defeat the evil mouse king.
The Nutcracker then turns into a prince and takes Clara on a journey through the land of snow and the land of sweets.
In the land of sweets, are the most famous ballet dances, like the Spanish dance, waltz of the flowers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux.
In the end, Clara awakens from her dream with her nutcracker toy.
Since the storyline is centered around Christmas Eve, this ballet has become synonymous with it around the world.
What are some winter ballets?
Now that we talked about the most famous Christmas ballet we can dive into the top 7 ballets to watch this holiday season!
1️⃣ The Nutcracker
This goes without saying, that this is a must-see for ballet fans! My favorite version is The Royal Ballet.
You can watch it here, on Amazon.
2️⃣ Swan Lake
Another ballet that I have seen so many times during the holiday season is Swan Lake! The classical music score by Tchaikovsky is instantly recognizable by even non-ballet people.
Swan Lake tells the story of Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried and how they fall in love. Odette and her friends are transformed into swans by the sorcerer Baron von Rothbart, forced to be swans during the day, and humans at night.
3️⃣ Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty follows the story of Aurora, who is cursed to prick her finger on a spindle at 16 years old, and die. As we know, faires step in to stop this fate. We see an epic tale of love, magic, fairy godmothers, and princess, play out in three magical acts.
I absolutely love Cinderella and think it is a such fun ballet to watch. This story line is centered around Cinderella, who is forced to work for her evil stepmother and stepsisters.
There is magic, fairy godmothers, and sweeping festive scenes that show the love story between Cinderella and Prince Charming. The magical themes make this a popular ballet for the Christmas holiday.
5️⃣ Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet are one of the most classic love stories of all time, which deserves its place on one of the best Christmas ballets to watch this winter season.
This story is centered around two young lovers that are torn apart by an old family feud.
You can watch this beautiful version starring Misty Copeland here.
6️⃣ The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen was written by Hans Christian Andersen and is centered on the struggle between good and evil between two friends, Gerda and Kai.
My favorite version of this is done by the Scottish Ballet, you can watch it here.
7️⃣ The Red Shoes
Lastly, The Red Shoes is also written by Hans Christian Andersen and choreographed by Matthew Bourne. The story follows Victoria who is driven by an obsession for ballet and becomes torn between two men igniting her passions.
It is often a Christmas staple for many ballet companies.
The Matthew Bourne version of The Red Shoes is here.
Why do people like Christmas ballet?
If you made it down to the bottom of this list you may be wondering why people even love watching Christmas ballet at the Royal Ballet, in New York, or even in your local community near you.
I think that the energy of the crowd, the beautiful movements of dancers, the costumes, and the sets, create a magical experience that people are drawn to.
The dedication of professional dancers is awe-inspiring and can be a huge motivation for adult ballet beginners. If you are looking to record your thoughts on these ballet performances go check out my post about how to take ballet notes.
Final thoughts about Christmas ballet
I hope this list inspires you to include a magical Christmas ballet production this season. Whether that’s through your TV at home or in person.
Make sure to grab your ballet planner below to schedule out all your ballet winter performances! 👇
If you are looking for more inspiration, check out Classic FM’s post here. Are there any Christmas ballets that I missed? Comment below to let me know which ballet you love to watch!