Arabian and Chinese Dances from The Nutcracker
Description:In the introduction, host David Thurmond shows a pair of point shoes and explains how they enable a ballerina to dance on her toes. He tells students to compare the tempo, mood, and energy in the two dances. He also notes that these are not authentic representations of the two cultures, but were included in the ballet as entertainments and to showcase dancers skills. The performance shows the Arabian and Chinese dances from The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite that debuted in 1892. Performed to music by Tchaikovsky and based on the book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman, its the story of a young girl named Clara who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King. The Arabian and Chinese dances are from the second act, in which the Prince takes Clara to the Land of Sweets, where she is entertained by a celebration of dances. This performance was choreographed by Xi Jun Fu of Kentucky Ballet Theatre and features Rebecca Ratliff as the Arabian dancer and Christine Elmo as the Chinese dancer.
- As the focus of a student analysis of dance elements and theme (with Responding to Dance).
- As an example of sharp and smooth movements.
- Compare to examples of modern and/or jazz dance in the toolkit.
- Compare to another character dance in the toolkit, Lucky Day on Dance Performances.
- To demonstrate and explore characteristics of ballet. (Show DanceSense Program 7, Helen Starr on the DanceSense Enhanced DVD, and/or Dance Vocabulary/Basic Positions on the DanceSense Enhanced DVD.
Lesson plans using this resource:
Exploring Force (P-5)
Students explore the basic dance element of force through movement activities and discussion.
- Sharp and Smooth Movements (K-5)
Students explore sharp and smooth movements.
- Analyzing Two Dances and Making a Dance Map (4-8)
Students watch and analyze the Arabian and Chinese dances from The Nutcracker and then create a dance map.
Creating a Movement Sequence (6-8)
Students analyze two dances from The Nutcracker and get an understanding of how choreographers create dances by creating short movement sequences for familiar characters.
Creating an ABA-Form Dance (6-8)
Students create an ABA-form dance using sharp and smooth movements.
For more information:
(These links may leave the Arts Toolkit.)
See the History and Styles and Responding to Dance sections of the Dance Arts Toolkit binder.
About Humanities Connections: