There is a reason why the art of ballet has become synonymous with the festive season. The haunting, surreal and beautiful nature of the artform pairs wonderfully with those dark, cold but magical months, where families wish to come together and share enchanting experiences. While there are many options for wonderful Christmas shows in London this year, we wanted to take some time to share the very special festive ballets that will transport you and your loved ones to magical realms this Christmas. Below are the Christmas ballets you can book in London in 2022.
The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum
There is no doubt that Tchaikovsky‘s The Nutcracker is the most famous Christmas ballet. See our complete guide to The Nutcracker to find out what makes it so special, especially during the holidays. For many UK families, Christmas isn’t complete without a visit to the English National Ballet production of The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. Exquisite choreography is complimented by spectacular sets and stunning costumes to bring the festive fairytale to life. Find out why this production has remained an essential Christmas ballet for London families since 1950.
The Snowman at Peacock Theatre
Celebrating its 25th year in 2022, this family ballet, based on the beloved Raymond Briggs‘ picture book and animated film, which have proved so iconic that the Royal Mint has made coins in their honour. The Snowman is an enchanting journey that the youngest dance-lovers can enjoy. As the titular Snowman whisks James out the window and they soar through the sky to the moving song “Walking in the Air”, young and old alike are held enraptured. Throughout the journey you meet Father Christmas, a host of penguins and many other wild and wonderful characters. This is the perfect ballet for families who want to introduce young children to the magic of theatre and remains one of the most popular Christmas shows in London. This year’s production is dedicated to the memory of Raymond Briggs CBE, 1934-2022.
Swan Lake at the London Coliseum
Like The Nutcracker, this is one of Tchaikovsky‘s famous Christmas ballets, exquisitely produced and performed by the English National Ballet. This fairytale story tells of Princess Odette, turned into a swan by an evil sorceress. The iconic sight of a whole row of ballerinas in white tutus, moving in perfect unison to the delicate melodies of the “Valse des cygnes” (Swan Waltz) is one of the many scenes that make Swan Lake one of the most ‘technically and emotionally challenging classical ballets‘. Master choreographer Derek Deane debuted his vision of Swan Lake in 1997 at the Royal Albert Hall and it has enjoyed regular UK tours and London productions since.
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells
Another in Tchaikovsky‘s trilogy of Christmas ballets, The Sleeping Beauty, as it was originally titled, is a story that most of us will be familiar with from a young age thanks to the Disney adaptation and many storybook versions. Billed as A Gothic Romance, Matthew Bourne‘s production emphasises the supernatural aspects of the story, with striking imagery of vampires, fairies and haunted forests. Bourne is known choreography that emphasises passionate storytelling rather than ‘an excuse to do a lot of nice steps and some great duets’. This highly-lauded production celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2022, making it a perfect time for newcomers to experience this modern take on an iconic Christmas ballet.
Nerubashenko Ballet presents Swan Lake at Richmond Theatre
Ludmila Nerubashenko, the widow of celebrated Ukrainian-born Artistic Director of Odessa State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Victor Smirnov-Golovanov, presents this sublime new production of Swan Lake on a UK tour. Featuring a host of promising young performers from Eastern Europe, hand-picked and trained by Nerubashenko, this version of Swan Lake is guaranteed to maintain her reputation for energy and professionalism in the art of ballet.
The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House
The Nutcracker is a Christmas ballet so popular that one annual London production just isn’t enough. First performed in 1984, The Royal Ballet production, staged at their home of the Royal Opera House, is just about as spectacular as ballet can be. Awe-inspiring sets and the cream of the UK’s dancing talent make this one another firm-favourite for family Christmas to-do lists. The Royal Opera House also offers family and adults only tours behind the scenes of their production, to bring you even closer to the magic. This is the perfect gift for any budding ballet enthusiast.
What is your favourite Christmas ballet?
It looks like 2022 is a fantastic year for Christmas ballet in London, but are there any past productions you want to see come back? What is the essential Christmas ballet for your family? We would love to hear your thoughts, so comment below to join the conversation.