Christmas Ballet and Dance in London

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The Little Match Girl

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The Little Match Girl
English National Ballet: Nutcracker
Royal Ballet Live: The Nutcracker

© Phil Conrad

For a truly unforgettable Christmas experience, check out one of the beautifully festive ballets taking place in London this winter.

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The Snowman

Loved by children and adults alike, this festive tale returns for its annual sob-fest.

Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, London, WC2A 2HT

Tube: Holborn Station , Covent Garden Station, Temple Station


Dates: 23rd November - 01st January 2017


This staging of Raymond Briggs's The Snowman by Sadlers Wells, suitable for children aged 4 and over, staged in the Peacock Theatre, has become a much-loved festive tradition in London. Translating the beautifully-illustrated book to dance, the respected ballet company creates a winter wonderland of a stage show at their West End theatre. This is the theatrical equivalent of going to see Father Christmas except infinitely more spectacular as a young boy's snowman comes to life and the two of them fly across the sky. When Father Christmas does appear it's in a shimmering woodland, surrounded by magical reindeer, dancing penguins and a host of snowy friends. As the first notes of Walking in the Air fill the theatre, the heart-melting factor will not disappoint as awe-struck children (and adults) are mesmerised by the dazzling light show of snow.


Royal Ballet Live: The Nutcracker

Festive treat watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree.

Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station


Dates: 23rd November - 12th January 2017


That great seasonal stalwart The Nutcracker starts playing at the Royal Opera House on 23rd November, offering families a fun and festive treat watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree. It's hard to imagine a production more indulgently sumptuous than Peter Wright's restaging of Lev Ivanov's choreography to Tchaikovsky's famous score. From the heart-warming family party of the opening scene to the appearance of the magical kingdom, the action beckons you in, helped every ballet step of the way by Julie Trevelyan Oman's gorgeous, nostalgic designs out of the late 1800s. This is pure spectacle but The Royal Ballet pulls it off with such beauty and style that it's a Christmas cracker.


Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes

A tale of obsession, possession and one girl's dream.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 06th December - 29th January 2017


Dance master Matthew Bourne takes on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale to create new ballet production The Red Shoes, being staged at Sadler's Wells this December. A beloved fairytale and Academy Award-winning movie, the story has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with a tale of obsession, possession and one girl's dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. This adaptation will be set to a new score arranged by Terry Davies, using the music of Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann.


The Little Match Girl

Arthur Pita's take on Hans Christian Andersen's classic story returns following a sell-out debut this time last year.

Sadler's Wells: Lilian Baylis Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 10th - 30th December 2016


A snowy stage sets the scene for an icy cold Christmas Eve, where the Little Match Girl paces the emptying streets, shivering and desperate, trying to sell her matches. This magical production based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, adapted by celebrated director and choreographer Arthur Pita, returns following a sell-out season last year as the Sadler's Wells Christmas show at the Lilian Baylis theatre. Classically based dance moves are performed against a clever set by Yann Seabra and a score by Frank Moon which uses pre-recorded and live sound. The story may not be the most cheerful but a trip to the moon prompts a fun-filled episode with an astronaut and a miniature space shuttle - more than enough to keep the over 5s enthralled.


English National Ballet: Nutcracker

A glittering production with an Edwardian setting, staged at the London Coliseum.

London Coliseum - English National Opera (ENO), St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4ES

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Covent Garden Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 14th December - 07th January 2017


A very traditional interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffman's the Nutcracker, English National Ballet's version was first performed in 2010 to celebrate the company's 60th birthday. This glittering production was created by Wayne Eagling (artistic director of the company from 2005 to 2012), and with its Edwardian setting created by Peter Farmer, it cannot fail to get you in the Christmas spirit. As sure as putting up fairy lights, filling Christmas stockings and having too much mulled wine at the office party, watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree is a truly festive thing to do. Wayne Eagling's choreography to Tchaikovsky's famous score is continuously heart-warming and every beautiful scene, from the family party to the appearance of the magical kingdom, lures you in.


The Royal Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station


Dates: 21st December - 14th March 2017


The Sleeping Beauty holds a special place in The Royal Ballet's history - it was the first production at its new home in Covent Garden after World War II, and Margot Fonteyn danced the lead role. In this production, 70 years after it was first staged, the classical beauty of Marius Petipa's original choreography presents an enchanted world of princesses, fairy godmothers, magic spells and a charming prince. The ballet includes many memorable moments including technically demanding choreography and a dazzling ballet that, like the fairytale it brings to life, lasts through the ages.

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