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Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker: A beginner's guide
Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write the ballet as a double bill by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, the director of the Imperial Theatres on the back of the success of Sleeping Beauty. Tchaikovsky once again worked closely with Marius Petipa, who frustrated the composer with his detailed instructions and restrictions on the score. Pictured:Birmingham Royal Ballet's Lei Zhao as Clara with Christopher Larsen and Kit Holder in the Chinese Dance, 2011.