Misha and Marie are thrilled that Christmas is coming. It's a frosty night, the neighbors are all invited, and Peter the stable boy is sweeping the barn in preparation for the dancing to come. But there's a disappointment in store. Instead of the beautiful doll she'd hoped for, the only thing strange old Uncle Nikolai has for Marie is a wooden nutcracker. Marie thinks it's a wonderful gift. Little does she know that it will lead her and her brother on the adventure of a lifetime.
When Misha and Marie finally go to bed on Christmas Eve, they sleep fitfully and are beset by nightmares. In one particularly bad dream, they join forces -- unusual for the squabbling children -- and conquer an army that might harm the nutcracker. Their reward is splendid: they are swept to the realm of the Snow Queen for a night of wonders.
James Kudelka, the Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, is one of North America's foremost dance artists. His vision of The Nutcracker is elegantly told by Karen Kain and beautifully rendered by artist Rajka Kupesic, herself a ballet dancer.