Nutcracker Nation, 2008

HD video documentary introduction

Every December, children in their best finery are accompanied by their families to see their first, and often their only, evening-length ballet, The Nutcracker, where sugar plums dance, mice and soldiers fight, snowflakes fall and trees grow. Battalions of children perform, fulfilling newly wrought dreams, while professional dancers tape their toes and groan as their number of “Nut” performances enter the hundreds. It often becomes the ballet we love to hate, but beneath the surface popularity are deeper roots and secular traditions.

The documentary Nutcracker Nation will address how The Nutcracker has broken beyond its traditional niche into diverse versions such as Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker, a Hawaiian hula Nutcracker or a traditional Indian bharata natyam Nutcracker. By filtering the ballet through a multi-faceted lens: historical, cultural, racial and through the personal stories of participants, the documentary will reveal how The Nutcracker has evolved from an old world Russian ballet into a uniquely North American ritual.

Based on the book by Jennifer Fisher, Nutcracker Nation: How an old world ballet became a Christmas tradition in the new world

3 minutes long