THE Russian State Ballet and Opera House present The Nutcracker at York Barbican on Tuesday at 7.30pm as part of a series of Yorkshire performances.

The Nutcracker, the most famous ballet of all, is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale The Nutcracker And The Mouse King and tells the story of Marie, a rather sad little girl, whose godfather Drosselmeyer gives her a nutcracker doll as a present on Christmas Eve, which duly turns into a prince.

When midnight strikes, the world turns magical in the wintry glitter of Christmas, as toys come alive, the Mouse King and his mouse army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and the audience travels through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place.

Snow flurries, sweets, princes, magic and love all feature in a ballet full of familiar Tchaikovsky music, such The Waltz Of The Flowers and The Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Russian State Ballet also stage Swan Lake at the Scarborough Spa on December 5; The Nutcracker at Harrogate Royal Hall on December 6 and Romeo & Juliet in Harrogate the following day.

The ballets are directed and choreographed by former Bolshoi Ballet soloist Konstantin Uralsky and are accompanied by a live orchestra of more than 30 musicians. York tickets are on sale at or on 0844 854 2757; Scarborough, 01723 821888; Harrogate, 01423 502116.