Saturday, November 20, 2010
The second canvas in my series of ornaments based on The Nutcracker ballet is the Arabian dancer, who symbolizes coffee. This lithe little lady appears in Act II as the first in a series of divertissements, or independent dances.
Poor Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ran into a serious problem as he was composing the music for the ballet: half-way through the first act, he had exhausted the story line of E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and Mouse King, the tale upon which the ballet was based. The original story ends with the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and the rodent monarch is defeated when Clara throws a shoe at him.
Tchaikovsky decided to treat the rest of the ballet as the unfolding of the young girl's fantasy, in which the Nutcracker becomes a handsome prince who takes her on a magical journey through the Land of the Snowflakes to the Land of Sweets. A sumptuous banquet is held in the Land of Sweets for Clara and her Nutcracker, and Coffee leads off the entertainment. Tchaikovsky's inspiration for the music to which the Arabian dancer sensuously sways was actually a lullaby from Russia's Georgian province.
Do come back and watch my progress as Coffee comes to life!