Nutcracker’s Ribbon Dance

The “French” variation in Helgi Tomasson’s 2004 Nutcracker is a ribbon dance trio. 

It’s not the first time that ribbons have been a part of San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker. In 1954, Lew Christensen created a new Nutcracker, designed by award-winning children’s book illustrator Leonard Weisgard, that included a Ribbon Candy dance in the “Russian” variation.

Ribbon candy costume sketch for San Francisco Ballet's 1954 Nutcracker, designed by Leonard Weisgard
Ribbon candy costume sketch for San Francisco Ballet’s 1954 Nutcracker, designed by Leonard Weisgard
Virginia Johnson and students in Lew Christensen’s Nutcracker. (© Romaine. Photo courtesy SFMPD.)

The Ribbon Candy dance became a showstopper for a young Michael Smuin (pictured in rehearsal) who several years later would become SF Ballet’s co-director.

Michael Smuin rehearses Lew Christensen's Nutcracker (1959). (© San Francisco Ballet. Photo courtesy SFMPD.)
Michael Smuin rehearses Lew Christensen’s Nutcracker (1959).
(© San Francisco Ballet. Photo courtesy SFMPD.)


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Header image: Ami Yuki in Tomasson’s Nutcracker. (© Erik Tomasson)

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