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Nutcracker Nation

Nutcracker Nation
Your Price: $24.00 CDN
Author: Jennifer Fisher
Publisher: Yale University Press
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 230
Pub. Date: 2004
ISBN-10: 0300105991
ISBN-13: 9780300105995

About the Book:

Nutcracker Nation is an entertaining book that offers new insights into North America's love affair with The Nutcracker. It traces the ballet's history, describes its many diverse productions, and explains its allure as a way for Americans to tell a story about their communal valves and themselves.

The Nutcracker is the most popular ballet in the world, adopted and adapted by hundreds of communities across the United States and Canada every Christmas season. In this entertainingly informative book, Jennifer Fisher offers new insights into the Nutcracker phenomenon, examining it as a dance scholar and critic, a former participant, an observer of popular culture, and an interviewer of those who dance, present, and watch the beloved ballet.

Fisher traces The Nutcracker's history from its St. Petersburg premiere in 1892 through its emigration to North America in the mid-twentieth century to the many productions of recent years. She notes that after it was choreographed by another Russian immigrant to the New World, George Balanchine, the ballet began to thrive and variegate: Hawaiians added hula, Canadians added hockey, Mark Morris set it in the swinging sixties, and Donald Byrd placed it in Harlem. The dance world underestimates The Nutcracker at its peril, Fisher suggests, because the ballet is one of its most powerfully resonant traditions. After starting life as a Russian ballet based on a German tale about a little girl’s imagination, The Nutcracker has become a way for Americans to tell a story about their communal values and themselves.

Nutcracker Nation: How an Old World Ballet Became a Christmas Tradition in the New World won the 2004 de la Torre Bueno Prize Special Citation given by the Society of Dance History Scholars.

What people say:

"The book is a delectable study of our cultural identities, of the way art can evolve, of the sociology of stage productions. But, for those of us who love the ballet—from the inside-out and the outside-in — it's another way to plunge ourselves into its inexplicable magic." — Back Stage West

"Fascinating ... Nutcracker Nation mines the myriad ways that a single artwork can penetrate everyday life and reflect a nation’s values ... Nutcracker Nation is informative and reflects years of worthy intellectual investigation." — New York Times Book Review

"A lively historical and cultural analysis of The Nutcracker." — Publishers Weekly

"A valuable piece of cultural anthropology as well as a worthwhile addition to dance history." — Toronto Star

"Fisher's sociocultural exploration is written with wit and empathy, for nearly all have started humming along upon hearing Waltz of the Flowers, whether ballet aficionados, youngsters fascinated by dancing flowers or parents just enjoying the holiday spirit." —

"Fisher is a respected dance scholar whose fascination with the underexplored subject promises an intriguing read for those moments when you are overwhelmed by the holidays, and just need to sit it out for a while and read a good book." — Cincinnati Enquirer

"A book for dance outsiders and insiders, for all grownups who have lived the Nutcracker experience and wondered about its sometimes crazy mix of history, kids, and pure stage magic." — Lynn Garafola, co-editor of The Ballets Russes and Its World

"A valuable piece of cultural anthropology as well as a worthwhile addition to dance history." — Toronto Star

About the Author:

Jennifer Fisher is an assistant professor of dance history and theory at the University of California, Irvine. A former actor and dancer, she has written about dance for many newspapers and dance periodicals. Having taught at York University, she also had careers as a travel writer, film critic, magazine editor, television critic, and media commentator for CBC radio in Canada.