The Nutcracker: Ballet vs. Burlesque


Everyone knows about the Nutcracker. Even if you haven't seen the famous ballet you probably know the music or the general story. It is a Christmas tradition and one of the most recognizable decorations during the holiday season. This year we decided to put two interpretations of the story to the test.

So..which is more entertaining? The traditional Nutcracker, performed as a ballet, or the more... shall we say... "risqué" Nutcracker, performed as a burlesque show? 

George Balanchine's Nutcracker with the PNW Ballet, Image credit: Pacific Northwest Ballet 

George Balanchine's Nutcracker with the PNW Ballet, Image credit: Pacific Northwest Ballet 

George Balanchine's Nutcracker 

The Pacific Northwest Ballet has been putting on The Nutcracker every year for the past three decades. It is a tradition for many families to go each year and experience the childish magic that brings to life the dancing candy canes, mice, and best of all, the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Last year big news struck Seattle. The Nutcracker that Seattle had grown to love over the last 30 years, by Maurice Sendak and Kent Stowell, would be getting a face lift. This year's performance is completely updated with sets and costumes by Ian Falconer and George Balanchine's classic choreography. From what we can tell it is brighter, more cheerful, but just as beautiful as always. 

We were lucky enough to have some very young, female commentary coming from the row behind our seats. This added to the story of Clara dreaming of her perfect world. We heard "Ohhhh here comes the peacock, she is my faaavorite." and our personal favorite, as the candies danced, one little girl exclaimed in envy "I wish I had a lot of sugar right now!" Something tells me her parents don't give her lots of sugar for good reason. 

With talented and beautiful dancers on center stage, don't forget to take in the beautiful set decorations and costumes. It truly all adds up to an incredible event. When the curtain drops at the end of the night you will feel like you have just woken up from a dream. Make sure your dreamy state doesn't keep you from cheering loudly, they definitely earn the applause. 

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker at the Triple Door, Image credit: The Triple Door

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker at the Triple Door, Image credit: The Triple Door

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker

What can we say? We love a good burlesque show. The Triple Door puts on a variety of shows throughout the year, but the Nutcracker is definitely a crowd favorite. For those of you who haven't been to one of these shows, we seriously encourage it. It's fun, outrageous, and surprisingly tasteful.

The storytelling is definitely a little loose, the clothing is even looser, but the talent and the beauty is there. Oh, and beware, the glitter and stagecraft is through the roof. 

At the ballet you see very little diversity, even in a city as progressive and open minded as Seattle, ballerina's are just a certain build and predominately white. What we love when you see a show put on by Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann is it's guaranteed to pay tribute to all shapes and sizes. Male, female, black, white, big and small, it is a homage to the people of our city and the fun-loving energy that many of us love to feel a part of.

Taking in both versions of the show

Taking in both versions of the show

So who wins this face off? Can we cheat and call it a tie? Even if they are the same "story" we admit, we have really been comparing apples and oranges this whole time. If you want a magical and fancy night out, the PNB's Nutcracker is absolutely worth the ticket price. If you want a sexy and laughable evening, go with The Triple Door's Land of Sweets

Pacific Northwest Ballet Insider Tip: You can preorder your drinks for intermission before the show starts. This way, when hundreds of people are lining up for another glass, yours is sitting ready for you on a table to the side, no extra charge! 

The Triple Door Insider Tip: Arrive early and eat/drink in the lounge, not the theatre. The menu has more options and it is wayyyyyy cheaper! 

What to Do in Seattle Center (that park where the Space Needle is)

Seattle Center is the most popular park in Seattle for obvious reasons. There is a lot to do and see so let us give you our tips on what check out. 

Space Needle 

This one doesn't need much introduction. The Space Needle is the most visited place in Seattle and it's a tad bit noticeable as a 605 foot tall Jetson-esque shaped tower. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle.

Insider tip: Adult tickets are $22 to visit the Observation Deck or you can take a trip up to SkyCity, the rotating restaurant at the top, and for a $35 food/drink minimum get access to the observation deck and delicious food! 

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Chihuly Garden & Glass

We did an entire post on Chihuly Garden & Glass because it is AMAZING! Dale Chihuly is a pretttyy famous glassblower from Tacoma, WA (Washington is full of the most talented people). This museum in Seattle Center is a tribute to his beautiful work. Even if you aren't a "museum person" give this one a shot, we think you'll be super duper impressed. 

Insider tip: Save big bucks and get a dual access ticket for $36 to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Space Needle.

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Museum of Pop Culture - MoPOP

MoPOP (previously EMP) is made for the cool pop culture fans out there. They basically cover everything that is awesome about pop culture and nothing else. Exhibits highlight Horror and Science Fiction films, the Grunge Era, and obviously, the Seahawks epic Super Bowl win. And don't get too excited, but they have a David Bowie exhibit coming in 2017. We think this goes without saying, but no Kardashians allowed. 

Insider tip: Check out Campout Cinema. Their movie screen is MASSIVE and their movie nights are so cool! Camp out in a huge room with LED stars above you and watch cool movies. 

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Pacific Science Center 

The science center is an interactive museum for people of all ages. Seriously, even the exhibits you can tell they made for kids, we love. The have a butterfly house and exhibits that teach you about dinosaurs, medical science, and earth's atmosphere. Best yet, the IMAX theater is located here and it plays all the best movies that will blow your mind because... IMAX.

Insider tip: There are some giant flowers outside the Pacific Science Center. They are more than flowers, it's an art exhibit called Sonic Boom. When it's sunny hang out beneath them and wait for them to soak up enough solar power to start playing their echo-y songs! 

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Key Arena 

This is where Beyonce comes when she visits Seattle. I think that sells itself.

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Teatro Zinzanni

The dinner show of all dinner shows. Teatro Zinzanni never disappoints. It has everything...comedy, acrobats, singing, dancing, cabaret, audience participation, and magic. Your ticket includes a 5-course meal, a three hour show, and a whole bunch of entertainment (even the servers get in on the dancing). The show rotates constantly, so you can keep go back and experiencing new performances. It is expensive (tickets range from $89 - $173 depending on your seat in relation to the stage), but we definitely recommend checking it out at least once.

Insider tip: Your ticket does not include any alcohol or gratuity, and they automatically add $6 per person to your bill for gratuity. You can bring you own wine to the show (if it's not on their menu) for a $20 corkage fee.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Visitor Center

Across the street from the EMP are the offices of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For those of you not aware, Bill Gates started this small company, Microsoft, and then made like 1 gillion dollars and now puts a lot of that money toward helping others. This visitor center is free and showcases all of the cool stuff they are doing. Think inventing new ways to teach children to ensure they never fall behind in school and eradicating diseases worldwide. They are awesome, go get inspired.

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Seattle Repertory Theater 

This is a small theater that creates a incredible lineup of shows every year. It has two stages, and since it is smaller in size every seat is a good one! We have seen several shows here and they have all been phenomenal. 

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Pacific Northwest Ballet 

It's a ballet. We aren't ballet experts, but we think this one is pretty up to standard. Beautiful dancers, beautiful costumes, beautiful stories. Oh, and The Nutcracker starts this week so if you haven't been now is a good time to start! 

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Seattle Monorail 

To be honest, the monorail doesn't have much of a purpose for locals, but it is a cool thing to ride as a visitor. This was built with the Space Needle for the 1962 Worlds Fair and you can ride from Seattle Center to Westlake. You get great views of the Space Needle and get this, it goes THROUGH MoPOP, which is really cool. Also, Frasier and Niles rode it in a special anniversary episode of Frasier. 

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The Armory 

The Seattle Center Armory is where you go when you are hungry after all your sightseeing. It houses over 15 restaurants ranging from Mexican, to Japanese, to American, to Starbucks (yes that is a category of food here). It has also public restrooms. Take note. 

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