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George Balanchine's The Nutcracker Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 5+

Macaulay Culkin v. Mouse King in NYC Ballet treat.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this production sparkles with that magical Christmas feeling, but some kids may get bored with the longer dance scenes. There's no dialogue in this traditional ballet except for hushed narration, and don't expect any Home Alone-style antics from Macaulay Culkin. The story does have some brief, mildly scary scenes. For example, the Nutcracker Prince battles the multi-headed Mouse King in a gore-free choreographed sword fight.

  • Families can talk about how Tchaikovsky's music helps tell the story. What types of instruments are playing during the darker, scarier scenes? What types of instruments are playing during the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and why does the melody fit the scene so well? How do the dancers use their bodies and facial expressions to tell a story, without speaking?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Friends and families come together to celebrate the holidays; Drosselmeier's nephew is the model of politeness in contrast to his rowdy peers.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence and scariness: The Nutcracker Prince kills the multi-headed Mouse King in a non-graphic, choreographed sword fight.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue