I hear you ask.
I'll tell you anyway, since this is all I'm doing for the next week.
Probably most of you know the standard Nutcracker ballet storyline:
Clara is the daughter of the house and gets a Nutcracker doll at Christmas.
She has a dream in which the Nutcracker leads some toy soldiers in fighting the mice, and kills the Mouse King.
Then the Nutcracker/Prince leads Clara through a snow storm to a dreamland where a bunch of candies dance for her.
Then there is a garden of flowers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Clara wakes up.
A nice production usually has it all done as wealthy Victorian, maids in the background, ladies in jewels, and all very silk-lined and comfy.
Clara is a little princess character, and it's all maybe a little cloying.
Anyway, that's not our Nutcracker.
Our Nutcracker was Choreographed by the founder of Sair's school about twenty years ago.
(I've never seen a date on it, so this is my best guess. I know of it back that far.)
The music is the same, and much of the dancing, but the storyline is different.
Our Nutcracker is about a homeless girl and her brother sleeping on the street in Russia in the snow outside a grand house where a party was going on.
The party has ended and the bratty son of a departing family harasses the children.
The brother points at the warm house and then their own pitiful blanket.
The host, Drosselmeyer sees them and takes pity.
He invites Clara and her brother Fritz are into the house, and give them presents, but at first the children behave badly and they quarrel.
Fritz finally breaks Clara's new Nutcracker doll on purpose, and Drosselmeyer turns him into a mouse.
Drosselmeyer does some magic, or maybe Clara is dreaming, but the children shrink.
Scary mice attack Clara, led by Fritz as the Mouse King, and toy soldiers led by her Nutcracker defend Clara.
The Nutcracker and Mouse King duel, but at the last moment Clara recognizes Fritz in his mouse disguise, saves him, and turns him back into a boy.
No mice are killed; soldier dolls and mice do kissy-poo, and The Nutcracker leads Clara and Fritz to the Land of Snow.
The Sugar Plum meets them and leads them to the Land of Sweets where all the treats dance for them.
But it has only been a dream — the dancers finish, the music stops.
Clara and Fritz are asleep on the cold street.
The party has just ended, and a wealthy family is leaving.
But this time the family is shocked to find the two children out in the cold, and the parents draw them to them.
The little girl is carrying a nutcracker doll, and gives it to Clara.
As Clara is about to walk away with her new family, Drosselmeyer calls her attention to where the backdrop for the house/street has been drawn away, and all the dream dancers are waving farewell to her.
I should probably add that it's touching to see.
It is a school production — they hire three professional male dancers for the pas, otherwise it's all our kids.
Sarah started out as a little angel; this year she's the big angel leading them out (among other things).
It's good dancing though.
The choreography at each level allows the kids to dance pretty much at their level of competence — the lambs are about seven and they are lambs.
The mice are fourteen and sort of ratty.
And the more demanding parts are well-danced.
Maybe not SF Ballet, sure, but every year our graduating seniors include kids going to places like Indiana University, or Julliard, or even ballet companies.
And what I can't convey in this telling, is that it is also pretty witty.
Fritz is a brat, and the guy who usually dances the part is one of my favorite performers ever.
Mother Ginger is one of our male dancers in cowboy boots.
There are clueless shepherdess who can't count three sheep.
And, damn it, after twelve years of it, the ending can still make me cry.