Mariinsky Ballet, dancer unknown?
My youthful milieu was not such as to encourage me to share this musical preference (“Hey guys, you know what I really like? ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’! You know, in The Nutcracker? Isn’t it neat?!?”) but hey, I’m a lot older, and nothing matters too much anymore, so I can say that I’ve always grooved on this, probably my favorite single piece of Christmas music. The celesta, the pizzicato on strings, and the brooding cascades from the woodwinds come together to create this ethereal but thick and mysterious texture.
But I’m no expert on ballet. For you honored readers I ended up watching about fifteen versions (and a lot of them more than once) before I ended up settling on this one. I can’t justify why I did. The picture quality is not great, the sound has some fuzz in the background, I’m pretty sure they cut a hefty chunk of the music out in the middle, and I didn’t really need the half minute of applause at the end. But the dancer struck me as extraordinarily pretty and graceful.
A strong contender was this spectacular interpretation from Disney’s Fantasia:
Plus, the music is more complete and the sound quality is better.