The Nutcracker Comes To America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created A Holiday Tradition by Chris Barton and illustrated by Cathy Gendron
Five Paw Prints
Shhh… I have a secret to tell you. You probably know that many girls and women love dancing especially ballet. But did you know that many boys and men like ballet too? It’s true and while you may not have heard of Christensen Brothers, they helped create yearly family traditions for our entire country. So, who are the Christensen Brothers? Willam, Harold, and Lew were three brothers who grew up in Utah in the early 1900s with a family that owned a dance school. Whether they wanted to or not, dancing was in the family and they all became dancers. One of their favorite types of dancing was ballet. They ended up with the San Francisco Ballet during World War II, but due to the war, there wasn’t any money to maintain a proper ballet program. The San Francisco Ballet Company was at risk of going out of business. The brothers decided to have the dancers perform the full production of The Nutcracker. Not only was the production successful, but it led to other dance companies doing their own productions every December. Who would have thought that three boys from Utah could change the ballet world in the United States? I really did love this book for a few reasons. I love seeing a well done theater production, I love history books, and I especially love that this is a dance book that’s about BOYS! I’ve read many books with dancing but very few with boys. I especially like that these boys didn’t continue dancing as adults because they were forced to dance by their family, they danced because they truly enjoyed dancing and wanted to share that love and talent with others. To learn more about the San Francisco Ballet visit https://www.sfballet.org/planyourvisit/learn/brief_history or https://www.sfballet.org/interact. To learn more about the Christensen Brothers visit https://www.sfballet.org/planyourvisit/learn/christensen_brothers or http://www.danceheritage.org/treasures/christensenbros_essay_flatow.pdf.