Read on to see what the choreographer, playwright, and designers said when we asked them what inspired their work on My First Nutcracker!
In My First Nutcracker, we focus on Clara-Marie’s adventures – her spirit, curiosity, bravery, and of course: dancing!
When Melissa, Carolyn, Sheryl, and I first started chatting about broad concepts for My First Nutcracker, we were really drawn to the work of a few abstract watercolor artists and the idea of ombres. The idea of a fictional world in a gradient really spoke to me. We also really wanted to modernize the story of The Nutcracker and show Clara Marie as a more astute and independent woman— to highlight her feminism and the power that she has in that. I think it makes her a much more modernly accessible protagonist.
I find inspiration for My First Nutcracker in the memories of the Nutcrackers of my youth: seeing very classic versions presented by the San Francisco Ballet, and the irreverent ones like Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut. Both serve as a reminder that the Nutcracker story is both timeless and malleable, and we can delight in the perspective shift, whether it is reframing the story in a different era or presenting it to a younger audience.
The inspiration for My First Nutcracker scenic design came from a very colorful watercolor painting of Christmas trees. We made the tree into a magical, central piece that goes on the journey with Clara Marie.
The Nutcracker is such a delightful and iconic holiday show, I’ve seen it many times. But since the story is told through dance and gesture, each time I have to read the synopsis to really understand it. I wanted to create a version that kids of all ages would immediately be able to connect with, so I wrote it as a play with music and dance. The main characters and events are all there. I hope it will serve as an introduction to The Nutcracker ballet that will inspire many future visits.
My First Nutcracker
Learn more about NYCCT’s hit holiday production, My First Nutcracker!