The Nutcrackeris traditionally staged at Christmas rather than mid-year – but then Graeme Murphy’s radical reimagining of the ballet is no traditional Nutcracker.

“I think people might be surprised that we are doing it in May in Sydney and in June in Melbourne but this story isn’t celebrating Christmas as such, it’s Clara’s story,” says Australian Ballet principal Leanne Stojmenov.

Australian Ballet, The Nutcracker, Leanne Stojmenov Leanne Stojmenov. Photo © Branco Gaica

“We don’t do it at Christmas because it doesn’t necessarily feel like a Christmas Nutcracker,” agrees AB Artistic Director David McAllister. “But it’s such a beautiful work. I think it’s one of the great Kristian Fredrikson/Graeme Murphy creations.”

Set in 1950s Australia, Nutcracker – The Story of Claraas the ballet is called, was the first full-length work that Murphy and Fredrikson (who died in 2005) created together for the AB, though they had previously collaborated at Sydney Dance Company. They would, of course, go on to create a much-loved production of Swan Lake together for the AB.

Their Nutcrackerpremiered in 1992. With 2017 marking its quarter century, it seemed a perfect time to revisit it again, following previous revivals...