MUSCAT:The Hamburg Ballet will bring Tchaikovsky’s family favourite The Nutcracker to stage at the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) for two evening performances on February 27 and 28.

The classical ballet tells the tale of Marie, a girl who is given both a nutcracker and ballet slippers for her 12th birthday. After her party is over she falls asleep wearing the slippers, only to dream of a being in a dance theatre. In her dream she witnesses a number of beautiful dances and is even able to dance with the boy she loves before she wakes.

The Nutcracker originally premiered in 1892, and over the years has been interpreted many times. While often produced as a Christmas story so it can be performed in December, the original ballet wasn’t about Christmas.

The Hamburg Ballet’s version is choreographed and staged by John Neumeier, with sets and costumes by Jürgen Rose. It was premiered by the Frankfurt Ballet, in Frankfurt, on October 21, 1971. “Under the leadership of John Neumeier, who is an innovative and passionate choreographer and dancer, the Hamburg Ballet, has been one of the very best European ballets for over 30 years. Neumeier is truly an amazing artiste and we are lucky to have the Hamburg Ballet perform here in Muscat,” said ROHM’s artistic director Umberto Fanni.

Neumeier was born in 1942 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His dance studies took him to Chicago, to Marquette University in Milwaukee, to Copenhagen and to The Royal Ballet School in London. In 1963 he joined the Stuttgart Ballet.

In 1969, he became director of Ballet Frankfurt, where he soon caused a sensation with his new interpretations of such well-known ballets as The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet.

In 1973, he joined The Hamburg Ballet as director and chief choreographer, a position he has held ever since.

“My world is dance. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to dance – even before I actually knew what it was! But, almost from the beginning, I wanted not only to dance myself, but to create dances, to tell wordless stories using movement,” Neumeier has said.

The Hamburg Ballet was formed from the ballet department of the Hamburg State Opera in 1973 when John Neumeier was appointed director and chief choreographer.

The first performances took place in September 1973, and since then the company has gone on to international acclaim. The Hamburg Ballet will be accompanied by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra from the Czech Republic with German conductor Michael Schmidtsdorff.

The Nutcracker will be performed for two nights on February 27 and 28 at 7.30pm.