As the Edwards family prepare for their Christmas party, Clara imagines the wonderful things that might happen. Her brother Frederick can’t miss a moment to tease her and is only stopped by the arrival of their beautiful older sister Louise.
The party comes to life with lots of dancing and as the excitement builds, Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives with a huge box from the Far East out of which come two sets of life-sized dancing dolls. This is not the only treat he has in store and he presents Clara and Frederick with a strange wooden soldier doll.
Clara is in awe of the little wooden man and is even more surprised when Uncle Drosselmeyer reveals the doll’s ability to crack nuts. Frederick quickly becomes jealous, a fight follows and soon the doll lies broken on the floor. Clara’s tears dry as her Uncle manages to repair the doll. The party ends and Clara leaves her Nutcracker by the tree before going to bed. Unseen, Drosselmeyer remains behind and casts his magic…
Unable to sleep, Clara tiptoes down to the dark room and is soon surrounded by large mice. The room seems to have grown and the china cabinet has become a castle, home to a life-sized version of her Nutcracker doll that comes to life.
The Mouse King reveals his presence and declares war. The Nutcracker Prince musters his toy infantry and the cavalry. A huge battle takes place. Just as the Mouse King is about to overpower the Nutcracker doll, Clara distracts him, allowing the Nutcracker to strike the winning blow.
Once again Drosselmeyer calls upon his magic and the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome boy. Clara holds his hand and they are transported into a snowy fairyland with dancing snow maidens – cold, beautiful and gentle as the snow itself. Drosselmeyer reappears with a magic sleigh and the Prince and Clara climb on board bidding farewell to the snow maidens and gazing up towards the stars.
Clara is introduced to the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalie: aren’t they like her sister Louise and her boyfriend James? Clara tells the tale of the battle. Everyone dances in her honour – beautiful Arabian Princesses, Russian Cossacks, French ballet dancers and even exotic flowers. Clara is soon dancing herself and only stops to witness the most beautiful of all dances by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
All too soon the dancing ends and suddenly Clara finds herself in the arms of her loving father. She runs around the room, looking everywhere for the Prince and all the wonderful people and tries to tell her father about all the sights she has seen. Can it have all been just a dream?
As she turns to go back to bed she catches a glimpse of her Uncle and the Nutcracker Prince.
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