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This captivating inside look at The Nutcracker ballet, which will delight readers with its retelling of the story and behind-the-scenes portrayal is lavishly illustrated with thrilling performance and backstage photographs from ballet companies across the country. It begins with the story of The Nutcracker. We join the charming Clara, her mischievous brother Fritz and their family at a Christmas Eve party and meet Clara's godfather, the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer. He presents her with a marvellous gift, a nutcracker doll. As Clara goes to sleep that night, we are transported into the growing fantasy of the Mouse King, the enchanted, snow-covered forest, the Nutcracker Prince, the Kingdom of the Sweets and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Then, we see the reality of what goes on backstage to create the magic of the performance. Each chapter is devoted to a single Nutcracker character or group of characters: Clara and her prince, Mother Ginger and her Polichnelles, Angels and Snowflakes and Flowers. The authors touch on auditions, guest artists, dancer training, the birth of Tchaikovsky's unforgettable musical score, costumes, makeup and who does what behind the curtain. Stories and comments from artistic directors, dancers, production personnel and choreographers highlight the text.