Disney Wiki
Advertisement
Disney Wiki

You know, it's funny how wrong an artist can be about his own work. Now, the one composition of Tchaikovsky's that he really detested was his Nutcracker Suite, which is probably the most popular thing he ever wrote. It's a series of dances taken out of a full-length ballet called "The Nutcracker", that he once composed for the St. Petersburg Opera house. It wasn't much of a success and nobody performs it nowadays, but I'm pretty sure you'll recognize the music of the suite when you hear it. Incidentally, you won't see any nutcracker on the screen, there's nothing left of him but the title.
Deems Taylor[src]

The Nutcracker Suite is the second segment of the 1940 Disney animated feature film Fantasia.

Synopsis[]

The Nutcracker Suite, a selection of pieces from Tchaikovsky's now-classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker, is a personified depiction of the changing of the seasons; first from summer to autumn, and then from autumn to winter. As Master of Ceremonies Deems Taylor points out, there is no "nutcracker on the screen; there's nothing left of him but the title." Unlike the original ballet, this version has no plot. It features a variety of dances, just as in the ballet, but done so by animated fairies, fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves; no actual nutcracker is ever seen in it. Many elements are rendered carefully and painstakingly using techniques such as dry brush and airbrush. The musical segments are as follows:

As dawn breaks over a meadow, during the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", tiny fairies sprinkle dew drops on every flower and stem.

A cluster of tiny mushrooms, dressed in long robes and coolie hats resembling Chinese (plus a little one always out-of-step), perform the "Chinese Dance".

Multicolored blossoms shaped like ballerinas perform the "Dance of the Reed Flutes".

A school of underwater goldfish performs a graceful "Arabian Dance".

High-kicking thistles, dressed like Cossacks, and orchids, dressed like lovely Russian peasant girls, join together for the wild "Russian Dance" (Trepak).

In the final musical segment, "Waltz of the Flowers", autumn fairies color everything they touch brown and gold with their wands. Then the frost fairies arrive and everything becomes part of an icy, jewel-like pattern among falling snowflakes.

One quaint novelty of the full-length roadshow version of Fantasia is that during his commentary on the Nutcracker Suite, Deems Taylor observes that the complete ballet "wasn't much of a success and nobody performs it nowadays." The United States did not see a complete staging of the ballet until 1944, four years after Fantasia was released, and George Balanchine's 1954 staging with the New York City Ballet established the modern tradition of performing the ballet at Christmas.

Credits[]

  • Musical score: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Nutcracker Suite Op. 71a
    • "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"
    • "Chinese Dance"
    • "Dance of the Reed Flutes"
    • "Arabian Dance"
    • "Russian Dance" (Trepak)
    • "Waltz of the Flowers"
  • Directed by Samuel Armstrong
  • Story development: Sylvia Moberly-Holland, Norman Wright, Albert Heath, Bianca Majolie, and Graham Heid
  • Character designs: John Walbridge, Elmer Plummer, and Ethel Kulsar
  • Art direction: Robert Cormack, Al Zinnen, Curtiss D. Perkins, Arthur Byram, and Bruce Bushman
  • Background painting: John Hench, Ethel Kulsar, and Nino Carbe
  • Animation: Art Babbitt, Les Clark, Don Lusk, Cy Young, Hawley Pratt, and Robert Stokes
  • Choreography: Jules Engel

Trivia[]

  • Some clips from the Waltz of the Flowers part of the segment were used as background for the song, "Joy to the World" from Disney's Very Merry Christmas Songs, a special holiday edition of Disney's Sing-Along Songs on VHS and DVD. The entire part was also featured in "Jiminy Cricket's Christmas".
  • Initially, this segment, along with "Dance of the Hours" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", were going to be featured in Fantasia 2000. However, "Dance of the Hours" was dropped and this sequence was replaced by "Rhapsody in Blue" leaving The Sorcerer's Apprentice as the only segment from the first film to be in the movie.
    • A brief clip of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy part of the segment appeared in a few trailers for Fantasia 2000.
  • Rock versions of the Chinese Dance and the Russian Dance, as well as two additional pieces from the original score that weren't included in Fantasia: the Miniature Overture and March of the Toy Soldiers, were used in the Mickey Mouse Works adaptation of The Nutcracker.
  • Music from the Nutcracker Suite has been featured in several Disney media beyond Fantasia:
    • "March" and "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" were featured in episodes 2 and 3 of the Disney+ miniseries Hawkeye, respectively.
    • "Waltz of the Flowers" was the Toy Box music for one of the skydomes in the original Disney Infinity.

Gallery[]

Videos[]


v - e - d
Fantasia logo
Media
Films: Fantasia (video/soundtrack) • Fantasia 2000 (video/soundtrack) • The Sorcerer's Apprentice (video/soundtrack)

Video Games: FantasiaKingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop DistanceDisney InfinityFantasia: Music EvolvedDisney Emoji BlitzDisney Sorcerer's ArenaSorcerer's Apprentice

Disney Parks
Cinderella Castle Mystery TourDisney Animation BuildingFantasia CarouselFantasia Gardens Miniature GolfFantasy GardensPrimeval WorldLe Pays des Contes de FéesMickey's PhilharMagicSorcerers of the Magic KingdomThe Sorcerer's HatVoyage to the Crystal Grotto

Entertainment: Disney Classics: The Music & The MagicFantasmic! • Mickey's Magical Book • Mickey's Gift of DreamsMickey's Magical CelebrationMickey and the Magical MapRivers of Light: We Are OneOnce Upon a MouseVillains Tonight!
Restaurants: Fantasia Gelati
Parades: Disney's FantillusionDisney's Party ExpressDreaming Up!Festival of Fantasy ParadeJubilation!Magic HappensParade of the StarsSpectroMagic
Fireworks: Celebrate the MagicCelebrate! Tokyo DisneylandDisney EnchantmentIlluminate! A Nighttime CelebrationMomentousWe Love Mickey!Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney DreamsWonderful World of AnimationWorld of ColorWondrous Journeys
Summer: Club Mouse Beat
Halloween: Happy Hallowishes

Characters
Fantasia: Sorcerer MickeySugar Plum FairiesNutcracker Suite DancersYen SidMagic BroomsTyrannosaurus RexStegosaurusTriceratopsPteranodonCorythosaurusApatosaurusDiplodocusOrnithomimusBrachiosaurusCeratosaurusKannemeyeriaEdmontosaurusParasaurolophusDimetrodonTylosaurusPlateosaurusAnkylosaurusCompsognathusArchaeopteryxTroodonOviraptorBacchusJacchusCentaursCentaurettesMelindaBrudusIrisMorpheusDianaZeusApolloVulcanBoreasMother PegasusFather PegasusPegasi SiblingsPeter PegasusCherubsSatyrsUnicornsMadame UpanovaOstrichesHyacinth HippoHipposElephanchineBen Ali GatorAlligatorsChernabogChernabog's Minions

Fantasia 2000: Donald DuckDaisy DuckColorful TrianglesBlack TrianglesHumpback WhalesDukeFlying JohnKilljoy MargaretFoo-FooJoeRachelNasty NannyTin SoldierBallerinaJack-in-the-BoxToy SoldiersYo Yo FlamingoSnooty FlamingosNoahSpring SpriteThe ElkThe Firebird
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Balthazar BlakeDavid "Dave" StutlerMaxim HorvathRebecca "Becky" BarnesDrake StoneVeronica GorloisenMorgana le FayMerlinAbigail WilliamsSun Lok
Deleted/Unused: OtikaSunflowerNutcracker SentriesDahliaChronosLorenzoMolly

Segments
Fantasia: Toccata and Fugue in D MinorNutcracker SuiteThe Sorcerer's ApprenticeThe Rite of SpringThe Pastoral SymphonyDance of the HoursNight on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria

Fantasia 2000: Symphony No. 5Pines of RomeRhapsody in BluePiano Concerto No. 2The Carnival of the AnimalsPomp and CircumstanceThe Firebird Suite

Locations
Yen Sid's TowerMount OlympusBald MountainNew York CityPrehistory
Deleted and unused concepts
Unused Fantasia SegmentsClair de LuneSunflowerOtikaEgret CoupleNaiadsDestinoThe Little MatchgirlOne by OneLorenzo
Objects
Sorcerer HatGrimholdMerlin's RingEncantus


v - e - d
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms logo
Media
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (soundtrack/ video)
Characters
Clara StahlbaumSugar Plum FairyMother GingerPhillip the NutcrackerDrosselmeyerLouise StahlbaumFritz StahlbaumBenjamin StahlbaumMarie StahlbaumHawthorneShiverCavalier and HarlequinBallerina PrincessMouse KingPolichinellesMiceToy SoldiersMrs. AshmoreOwl
Songs
Fall On Me
Advertisement