The Nutcracker

It takes a few minutes for the adroitness of a Covent Garden stage production to make itself visible. Once the grown-ups have gone to bed, the scene becomes a harlequinade, and then a toy ballet.

Act Two is the ballet proper. It presents a singular mind and eye for dramatic spectacle. Ivanov’s plan is sufficiently Englished to give the idea of a native art. The dancing is neither perfect, nor brilliant, nor exquisite. Easy, natural art is its key. In combination with unhurried tempos, it renders a complete model discourse with no faux effects.

The pas de deux is a rhythmic expression of simple steps. Clarity is the mode of the variations.

One should say it was specially intended for children. Dancing is made to appear elementary and eloquent.