Christmastime is the time for ballet. No other period of the year is that strongly related to fairy tales than this one, and no other genre bases its storylines that much on fairy tales than classical ballet. In this cold and uncomfortable season where thoughts naturally wander through dark and foggy woods, ballet is the perfect stage for magical stories to unfold…
The Sleeping Beauty
Every child knows the story of The Sleeping Beauty — Princess Aurora being released from her curse by a loving prince. Therefore, it is no surprise that the fairy tale inspired a magical ballet written by the grand master in this genre, P. Tchaikovsky. It evolved to a classic amongst the ballets, brilliant as always when it comes to this composer — Tchaikovsky had such a marvelous feeling for composing ballet music. Maybe this has to do with the strong culture and tradition of ballet in Russia where a prima ballerina can be as famous as a movie star.
Since the movie Black Swan, Swan Lake has solidified its stamp as the most famous ballet of all times, well deserved for this dramatic love story accompanied by P. Tschaikovsky’s music. With floating melodies and atmospheric tunes sounding more like a movie soundtrack than classical music from the 19th century, it pulls the audience right into the emotions between Prince Siegfried and Princess Odette, cursed to live life as a swan. She can only be released if a man swears his everlasting love and loyalty, difficult enough even without the evil warlock Rotbard who wants to keep her as a swan and plays a diabolic joke on Prince Siegfried.
Romeo and Juliet
Touching generations for 400 years, the haunting love story of Romeo and Juliet gave S. Prokofiev the inspiration for this ballet. Its ‘Dance Of The Knights’ is a popular musical theme that has been heard outside of the ballet, including in Chanel’s advertisement for its perfume ‘Egoiste’; however, it is definitely not the only fantastic melody in this ballet. Prokofiev’s music takes the audience on a rollercoaster of feelings, heating up their hearts and bringing them closer to each other in this cold and nasty season.
A review once stated that ‘the melody fell in love with Tchaikovsky,’ and no other work of his shows the richness in catchy melodies as much as his most famous piece, The Nutcracker. Based on a fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann and set during Christmas Eve in Germany, it captivates the viewer with folk dances from around the world, including Arabia, China, Spain and Russia, which are embedded in a battle between good and bad from the naive view of a child. It’s a must-see and perfectly suitable for even the youngest ballet fans.
Famous choreographer John Cranko put this ballet together, along with composer Kurt-Heinz Stolze, using widely unknown pieces by Tchaikovsky and basing it on the same storyline Tchaikovsky used for his opera Eugene Onegin. An absolute classic, this one is by now the most successful ballet of the 20th century. Set in Russia, around 1820, it tells a story where the young and naive girl Tatjana falls in love with bon viveur Onegin, who arrogantly rejects her love. Years later, a dramatic reunion between the two comes around, teaching the big-headed man a lesson.
Hansel & Gretel
Doesn’t every child secretly wish to find a candy house and become the hero who outsmarts the cruel witch? Around Christmas when there are sweets everywhere and a touch of fantasy lingers in the air, this ballet gives children the perfect entrance into the classical world. The Deutsche Staatsballett went even a step further and made a production together with kids, interpreting this story for younger audiences. The music comes from E. Grieg, and while he may be better known for his Peer Gynt Suite, this one is nonetheless beautiful.
Composer Adolphe Adam was a coeval to Tchaikovsky, both living at a time when ballet became widely popular. Around 1830, the first prima ballerina successfully completed a whole ballet on pointe, which revolutionized the classical ballet world. Adam composed his music to a libretto by Theophile Gautier after a legend about the wilis, virgins who died before their marriage, living as ghosts and dancing at midnight with innocent young men until they fall down dead. The role of the adorable Giselle is still one of the most sought after by prima ballerinas, giving them the possibility to not only show off their dancing skills but also their acting talents.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.