TKA Nutcracker Origin Story


Amber Loveland

2022 TKA Nutcracker; Amber Loveland

Helen Popadic, Contributor

Happy New Year! Now that this year’s Christmas season and festivities are officially over, we can sentimentally reflect on these winter rituals. The annual TKA nutcracker tradition, having taken place once again this December, is one of these popular indulgences! This performance, revived every year for the Christmas season, stands as a symbol of the holidays and one of the many popular festivities to be enjoyed.

Though this specific performance rings nostalgic for people this time of year, it wasn’t always this cherished. In fact, at its premiere in 1892, it was heavily criticized and sneered at for its oddly choreographed ballet and choice of performers. The original idea of the ballet was taken from the story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman. Hoffman’s story was much more twisted than its ballet readaptation, featuring a child’s nightmare with a seven-headed mouse king rather than the fantastical “sugar-plum fairy” dream we think of now. Author Alexandre Dumas altered The Nutcracker into its less scary counterpart, making it the version accepted as the ballet we know today.

Despite the dislike for the ballet aspect of this performance, the public admired and preferred the orchestrated pieces. The musical numbers were often used in orchestras, allowing the music to flourish and thrive throughout the years until it was eventually redeemed to be readapted into its original ballet form.

This year’s performance was no different in its usual timeless nostalgia and soundtrack! Despite this classic’s stubborn upbringing, it remains a treasured performance worldwide and acts as a part of TKA’s seasonal traditions. For all who missed the play on December 3rd, be sure to catch it next year to start the Christmas season!