NORTHERN Ballet is reviving it’s much-loved production of The Nutcracker at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday to December 30.

Tchaikovsky’s Christmas favourite is told in a traditional way by artistic director David Nixon, who has set his version in the Regency period amid the Christmas commotion as the clock strikes midnight and Clara’s Nutcracker doll proves to be no ordinary toy.

“People like to return to The Nutcracker because it reminds them of childhood and that magical time when your dreams can become reality,” says David.

In Northern Ballet’s production, first staged in 2007, the festivities of the season, the magical winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and the world of the Sugar Plum Fairy are captured by Charles Cusick Smith’s set designs, Nixon’s costumes and Mark Jonathan’s lighting.

“The Nutcracker has been part of my life for over 40 years,” says David.

“I’ve danced many roles from the children’s parts through to the Cavalier in several versions including those by Rudolf Nureyev, John Neumeier and Ruth Page, and I’ve also choreographed four versions myself.

“After all this time, it still holds a special place for me: it’s a unique ballet that brings the charm and imagination of youth with the craft and elegance of maturity to the stage in an uplifting and harmonious journey that reminds us of the power of dreams.”

Explaining why he chose Regency England for the story’s setting, David says: “The contrast of the period’s beautiful yet pale clothing with the bright and exotic elements of Orientalism – a fad at the time, hence the bright pavilion – creates clear lines between reality and dream.”

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