Summary: A classic among classics, Tchaikovsky's fantastical masterpiece is presented here with Vainonen's choreography, the version most popular in Russia. The ELtoile dancers Alina Somova and Vladimir Shklyarov light up a stage decked in scenery designed by Simon Virsaladze, accompanied the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra led by the legendary maestro Valery Gergiev. The story goes that Petipa and Tchaikovsky met at the Mariinsky Theatre during a performance of Minkus and Petipa's ballet La BayadeL€re. When Petipa walked on stage for the curtain call, he turned toward the Tchaikovksy's box and exclaimed, "If only the greatest Russian composer could write for our theater!" Sleeping Beauty (1890), The Nutcracker (1892), and Swan Lake (1895) were the result of the superb artistic partnership that followed. Petipa's libretto was inspired by Alexandre Dumas's French version of the tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. In 1934, Vainonen created a new choreography that came to be considered the epitome of classical ballet. Vainonen's choreography is performed here by the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Ballet