본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Socio-Cultural Significance of The Nutcracker in its Historical Development

Youngjae Roh 1

1동아대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the socio-cultural significance of a renowned classical ballet, The Nutcracker in its historical development. As one of Russian imperial ballets, The Nutcracker choreographed by Lev Ivanov attempted to combine a German story with classical spectacle. The ballet was inspired by a E. T. A. Hoffmann’'s popular story but not successful in the early years due to its unusual structure. Compared with today’'s popularity during the Christmas Season, the early Russian version of The Nutcracker did not received great attention in the imperial period. The development of The Nutcracker seemed to be caused by immigration of Russian ballet to the West. Especially the George Balanchine’'s version which emphasized the traditional notion of ‘'middle class family’' and ‘'holiday’' affected the establishment of new Christmas tradition as well as New York City Ballet’'s glory in America. The Nutcracker along with Christmas tradition then spread out to other Western countries. In the contemporary era, The Nutcracker’'s cultural power signifies not only inheritance of great classical ballet but also a sort of ongoing bodily practices which embody various contemporary cultural trends and social issues. In addition, based upon broad marketing strategy, The Nutcracker is also considered as a symbol of holiday consumer culture today. By a number of choreographers and dance companies in the world, The Nutcracker has been widely disseminated, adopting a conventional family discourse, popular culture, minority discourse and so on. As a result, whatever each version takes, it evokes a sort of community sense in which a group of people ties together. In this regard, I believe that The Nutcracker becomes a good example to read social values in history and diverse aspects of cultural practices.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.