Showing the rosy health of a ballet half its age, The Nutcracker, still comes around every Christmas, arriving in a flourish of pizzicato strings and tinkling triangles, exuding homey warmth, innocence, and sugary good cheer. It proceeds to the holiday’s center stage and dances for audiences in the millions. And yet -- kind reader, beware -- beneath its divertissement (shimmering!), beneath its perfumed pageantry, The Nutcracker also harbors a disconsolate spirit.
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