The National Ballet of China – The Nutcracker
“The story line of the Nutcracker (Chinese Version) is essentially following Tchaikovsky’s music for classical ballet the Nutcracker. However, the artists in the National Ballet of China have integrated many activities and traditions to celebrate Chinese New Year into choreography to make the Nutcracker have different look. The main roles in this ballet, a girl and a boy, both have Chinese names – YuanYuan and TuanTuan. Mices become monsters. The nutcracker solders are under tigers’ masks. The dancing of snow flakes, many ballet lovers’ favorite scene, is replaced by dancing of The Red-crowned cranes in snow. The character dances in the fantasy world are all compositions of Chinese elements such as zodiac costumes performances; as well as dances of candied fruits, chic and elegant fans, silk ribbons, kites, spinning tops and gold ingots.” Synopsis Act I Scene 1 A temple fair in Beijing with strong Chinese characteristic The Chinese Lunar New Year is coming soon. People are bustling about purchasing goods for the New Year at the temple fair. Adults greet each other in traditional ways, while children are enjoying themselves in the festive atmosphere. Tuantuan and his cousin Yuanyuan are playing with their little friends. Tuantuan has even bought a mask of Nian, a monster in the fairy tales. The grandfather of Tuantuan and Yuanyuan tells the origin of the festival. Twelve children hold twelve masks of animal signs, which symbolize a person’s year of birth. They are happily waiting for the eve of Chinese New Year in the flying snow. Scene 2 A cozy and harmonious Chinese living room At the eve of Chinese New Year, a foreign friend comes to the grandfather’s home to celebrate the Spring Festival with the family. The foreign friend gives the lovely Yuanyuan a nutcracker as a New Year gift. Tuantuan gets jealous, since he wants this fantastic gift as well. His grandfather gives him a double truncation stick. The grand parents also give a present to the foreign friend. Children are listening to the foreign friend’s explanation of the usage of the nutcracker. The greedy Tuantuan grabs the nutcracker in his hand. Yuanyuan is very upset, and tries by all means to get her favorite gift back. The New Year dinner is ready and the foreign friend takes a group photo of this harmonic Chinese family. Scene 3 Yuanyuan’s bedroom Yuanyuan gets back to her bedroom alone when the night falls. Holding the nutcracker in her arms, she quickly falls asleep… Reality fades into the world of dream, while Tuantuan and the monster Nian become one and steals away the nutcracker. Yuanyuan gets up and panics. Suddenly, the nutcracker transforms into a human and jumps out. A group of monsters Nian are gathering around him. Together with many little tigers, the nutcracker fights against the Monsters. Scene 4 To the fairy land in the Kingdom of Crane The fight between two sides is getting hot, when the Crane Queen from the fairy land arrives. She draws out the red gauze from the top of her head. All monsters Nian are shocked by the red color and helplessly fall down. Having witnessed the magic of the Crane Queen, Yuanyuan salutes the queen with gratitude. She asks the queen to change her into a beautiful crane, and fly to the magical Porcelain Kingdom with her beloved nutcracker. Act II Scene 1 Porcelain Kingdom Yuanyuan arrives in the magical Porcelain Kingdom. In front of her are all kinds of exciting and amazing things: the welcoming happy Fuwas, the dressed up performance by 12 Animal Signs, the sweet and funny Crystalline Candied Haws, the elegant and graceful dance of Fans, not to mention the Dance of Silk, Dance of Kite, Dance of Spinning Top, and Dance of Gold Ingot. It is a grand celebration full of Chinese elements. Scene 2 The New Year celebration The entrance of the cloisonné justifies the name of Porcelain Kingdom. Yuanyuan is slowly lifted up by the little Firecracker boys. Out of a sudden, all characters in the dream fade out. Yuanyuan is waken up by Tuantuan. Back to reality, Yuanyuan still holds the nutcracker tightly in her hands, afraid that Tuantuan may takes it away again. The bell for the New Year is about to ring. Realizing that it was all just a dream, she feels sorry and gives the nutcracker to Tuantuan. Firecrackers begin to salvo the sky. Everybody enjoys the happiness brought by the joy of New Year, as the celebration climbs to its highlight. A little embarrassed, Tuantuan gives the nutcracker back to Yuanyuan. The whole family joyfully welcomes another beautiful year: the Happy Year of Rabbit!