Act Two of The Nutcracker Ballet

Land of the Sweets delights with delicacies from all over the world

Nutcracker
2007 Treva Bedinghaus, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet that is popular during the holidays, as it is set during Christmastime. The score is by famous Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet begins with a Christmas party, a battle scene with mice and a journey through the Land of Snow.

In the second act of The Nutcracker, the main characters, Clara and Prince, arrive at the Land of Sweets where they are welcomed by the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Everything Clara could see was made of sugar. There were trees laden with sweets, and a gleaming palace built out of jelly beans with a shiny white roof made of sugar icing. A sugar plum fairy arrived to greet them.

Let the Dances Begin

When the characters describe their daring battle with the mice army, the Sugar Plum Fairy rewards them with a celebration of dances. 

Different nationalities are represented by the dances of the sweets. When the ballet was created, several foreign delicacies were very special and rare. People did not travel the world frequently, so foreign products were much harder to get.

The following dances performed by the sweets represent delicacies that were considered special enough to be a part of Clara’s fantasy world. The dancers' costumes resemble the "sweets" they bring from their countries.

Special DanceDescription
Spanish Dance: ChocolateChocolate ​characters dance to the lively music of trumpets and castanets of the Spanish fandango.
Arabian Dance: CoffeeThe women of coffee dance in veils and move their bodies like rising steam to an Arabian song.
Chinese Dance: TeaMandarin tea dances to an exotic Asian flute chorus.
Russian Dance: Candy CanesMatryoshkas (Russian dolls) follow the Mandarin tea leaping and dancing to an invigorating Russian trepak dance.
Mother Ginger: Bon-bonsA giant gingerbread house, known as Mother Ginger, dances onto the Sugar Plum Fairy’s court. She opens her skirt and eight little gingerbread children come dancing out circling around her.
Reed Flutes: MarzipanThis is also known as "The Dance of the Mirlitons," with its delightful scoring for flutes. A mirliton is both a small sweet French cake and a type of musical instrument that produces “a coarse, reedy sound.”
Waltz of the FlowersDancing flowers enter to the tune of the harp to perform a beautiful waltz
Dance of the Dew Drop FairyThe flowers dance in beautiful mesmerizing patterns as a single Dewdrop floats above them.
Dance of the Sugar Plum FairyA handsome cavalier enters the scene and escorts the Sugar Plum Fairy to the center of the room. They dance to the most recognizable song in the entire work. The captivating pair dance lighter than air. 

The dances in the Land of the Sweets are usually standard in performances of The Nutcracker, but are not always performed in this order. 

End of the Act

The end of the act concludes when Clara’s dream fades away as the people of the Land of Sweets bid her farewell. She awakes at home next to her Christmas tree and nutcracker toy, where her majestic dream began.