The Berlin State Ballet has massive problems. Christiane Theobald, formerly the deputy of a whole phalanx of long-forgotten directors, has been provisionally at the helm herself since 2020. The ensemble is increasingly unattractive: for dancers because they won't have a director to stand with them in the ballet hall by 2023, but also for an audience that is repeatedly presented with whatever is playable in the repertoire. But it's worse. The Berlin BZ noticed it. Christmas is the season for a famous nineteenth-century ballet, one by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Marius Petipa and even more by Lev Ivanov. So the BZ asks: Where is “The Nutcracker” this year? He's not on the game plan.

Theobald explains that she cannot play it because there is a Chinese dance and an oriental dance in it. Ballet ensembles around the world are currently brushing out their mouse costumes and cleaning their nutcracker swords for the big fight that brings in half the annual budget. For Christiane Theobald, however, “The Nutcracker” is a clear case of racism, especially in this version, a scientifically based, Russian-led reconstruction of the original from 1892.

There is also a Spanish and a Russian dance in this fantastic ballet based on ETA Hoffmann's fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, but these are obviously not the problem. Playing the ballet and explaining the exoticism of the nineteenth century in the program is obviously too easy for Theobald. In addition, according to a podcast by the State Ballet, the audience is not yet ready to properly understand what it is seeing on stage. Understand correctly? How stupid or even racist does dance science consider the dance audience?

It is sad not to play the Nutcracker before Christmas, it is arrogant not to play it for these reasons. No Chinese like that. Of course, not all of them are as acrobatic and virtuoso as in Petipa's ballet fairy tales. By the way, in fairy tales everyone is always different than usual: tailors, frogs, servants, kings. If you want to do something against racism, take an example from the "New York City Ballet", which in 2019 for the first time cast little Marie in the lead role with a black girl. This year the problem there is that all children dancing with us must have the vaccination age of at least twelve years, smaller ones can only watch this season. Even sadder than not being allowed to dance yourself, is just what? Not a nutcracker at all. Incidentally, it has just become knownthat the Royal Opera Ballet in London wants to thank the British nursing staff exclusively with a nutcracker performance.

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