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Nutcracker’s Ribbon Dance

Nutcracker’s Ribbon Dance

A San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker staple

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

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.)

Nutcracker returns to the War Memorial Opera House this season! Catch the holiday classic from December 10–30, 2021. Tickets on sale now!

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Header image: Ami Yuki in Tomasson’s Nutcracker // © Erik Tomasson