The student news site of Stockholm International School

The Quirky Quibbler

The student news site of Stockholm International School

The Quirky Quibbler

The student news site of Stockholm International School

The Quirky Quibbler

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Swedish Traditions Meet The Nutcracker

Grade 10 had the opportunity to visit the Royal Swedish Opera House to see the Swedish production of The Nutcracker.  Grace M. explains the story behind the ballet.

The ballet starts with Petter and Lotte and their family getting ready for Christmas. We first see them and their dog outside playing. Soon their uncle is cutting down a Christmas tree to put in their house. Later in the night, Petter and Lotte have all of their friends and their family around at their house to spend Christmas with loved ones. All the families start dancing and having fun. Soon the uncle comes home dressed as a goat and starts giving out presents, but everyone knows he’s just the uncle. The uncle gives good gifts to everyone except Petter and Lotte. As they are complaining, a real goat waltzes into the house and gives Petter and Lotte their actual presents. Everyone has fun for the rest of the night. 

Once everyone has left, Petter and Lotte beg their three aunts to sleep under the Christmas tree. When their aunts finally agree, Petter and Lotte are overjoyed. Soon though, not far into the night, rats start attacking the goat prince and a big fight ensues. Lots of different animals and objects come to life to create a magical night. 

In the Swedish version of The Nutcracker ballet, the plot of the children’s books written by Elsa Beskow are mixed with the plot of the original Nutcracker ballet. There are many traditions shown throughout the ballet. Some include the straw goats. In Sweden, there used to not be any Santa, instead a father or uncle dressed up as a goat and handed out presents. Another tradition is dancing in circles around the Christmas tree. In the ballet, all the background characters danced around the tree. One last example of a Swedish tradition is making cylindrical paper and putting streamers on the ends (smällkaramelle). There were dancers dressed as these near the end of the ballet. Also, during the initial fight between the goat and the rats, the goat cracks one of these apart and hits the rats with it. When he cracks this apart, two large bangs sound throughout the whole opera salon. 

As someone who has never been to a ballet, this was very interesting. Like everyone who grew up in the same area as me, I knew the plot of the original Nutcracker ballet even if I’d never seen it. This Swedish ballet’s version is a unique and great experience. Thank you to Ms Thompson for organising this cultural event. 

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