Visions of Sugarplums: The Nutcracker Quiz

By: Bambi Turner

Visions of Sugarplums: The Nutcracker Quiz
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

What started as a simple children's book has transformed into one of the most important traditions of the holiday season, as fans young and old flock to theaters to see one of the most iconic ballets of all time. Take our quiz to see how much you know about the history, music and characters that make up this Christmas classic.
What was Clara's name in the original book that inspired "The Nutcracker" ballet?
Megan
Maria
Many modern versions of "The Nutcracker" change Maria to Clara, but the original name of the young girl at the heart of the story stays the same in Russian versions of the production, where Maria is typically known by the name Masha.
Mila

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What does Clara use to kill the Mouse King?
her slipper
Clara throws her slipper, which kills the Mouse King and brings Act I of the ballet to a close.
a nutcracker
a rock

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Who shares a pas de deux with the Sugarplum Fairy?
King of Sweets
Mouse King
Cavalier
The Sugarplum Fairy famously dances a pas de deux with the Cavalier, though some versions of the show replace the Sugarplum Fairy with Clara to dance this pivotal scene.

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Where does Act II of "The Nutcracker" take place?
Land of Snow
Kingdom of Sweets
At the end of Act I, Clara and the Prince travel on a sled from the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, which serves as the setting for Act II.
Land of Milk and Honey

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Which of these is NOT one of the Stahlbaum children?
Daniel
The three Stahlbaum children -- Fritz, Louisa and Maria (or Clara) -- all appear throughout the duration of "The Nutcracker."
Louisa
Fritz

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Who gives Clara her precious nutcracker for Christmas?
her parents
her teacher
Herr Drosselmeier
Clara's godfather, the inventor Herr Drosselmeier, gives the Nutcracker to the Stahlbaum family, but Clara immediately takes a special liking to the gift.

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Who battles the mice during Act I of the ballet?
cats
snowflakes
toy soldiers
Fritz's toy soldiers come to life to battle the mice, who are led into battle by the wicked Mouse King.

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Who transforms into the Prince in Clara's dream?
Drosselmeier
Drosselmeier's nephew
Herr Drosselmeier's nephew transforms into a Prince in Clara's dream and travels with her through the wondrous Kingdom of Sweets.
Fritz

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What candy represents the Russian dancers in Act II?
candy canes
In Act II of "The Nutcracker," dances from various countries create food-themed performances, with candy canes for Russia and chocolate for Spain.
licorice
gum drops

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Who hides the Polichinelles under her skirt?
Mother Ginger
The 8 young Polinchinelles hide beneath the voluminous skirt of Mother Ginger, but often escape to perform a dance of their own.
Clara
Sugarplum Fairy

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Who adapted "The Nutcracker" story into the version used in the modern ballet?
C.S. Lewis
Alexandre Dumas
While E.T.A. Hoffman wrote the original "Nutcracker" story in 1816, Alexandre Dumas gave the story a lighter, friendlier feel when he adapted it in 1845.
Mark Twain

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What year was the ballet performed for the first time?
1792
1892
The first performance of "The Nutcracker" took place December 18, 1892 at the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
1992

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What legendary choreographer created the very first ballet version of "The Nutcracker?"
Marius Petipa
Father of Russian ballet Marius Petipa composed the 1892 version of the ballet, assisted by Lev Ivanov.
Yury Grigorovich
Leonide Massine

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What was the first U.S. company to perform "The Nutcracker?"
New York City
Chicago
San Francisco
The San Francisco Ballet was the first to bring "The Nutcracker" to the United States when it performed the ballet in 1944.

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Which of these parts is unique to the Moscow Ballet's version of "The Nutcracker?"'
Rose Queen
Dove of Peace
Unlike other versions of the ballet, the Moscow Ballet's version features the Dove of Peace, who welcomes Clara and the Prince to the Land of Peace and Harmony.
Fairy of Death

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Who composed the music for "The Nutcracker?"
Tchaikovsky
It was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who came up with the iconic music we now know as The Nutcracker Suite.
Mozart
Beethoven

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What instrument signals the arrival of the Sugarplum Fairy?
celesta
Tchaikovsky used the celesta -- a keyboard instrument similar to a piano -- to create the tinkling sounds of the Sugarplum Fairy.
harpsichord
viola

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Which country's dance in Act II is known as the Trepak?
China
Spain
Russia
The Russian candy cane dance, with its traditional Russian folk dancing, is also known as the Trepak.

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What waltz features a dance by the Dewdrop Fairy?
Waltz of the Flowers
The Dewdrop Fairy soars across the stage during the Waltz of the Flowers near the conclusion of Act II.
Waltz of the Bells
Waltz of the Sugarplums

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The first performance of "The Nutcracker" was considered a failure.
true
The 1892 performance of "The Nutcracker," which played on a double bill alongside an opera called "Iolanta," was considered a failure. Even Tchaikovsky described the production as boring.
false

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"The Nutcracker" is one of the most lucrative productions for ballet companies.
true
"The Nutcracker" often helps keep the lights on for ballet companies. At the San Francisco Ballet, for example, 40 percent of annual ticket sales come solely from "The Nutcracker."
false

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What year did George Balanchine choreograph his famous version of "The Nutcracker?"
1944
1954
The legendary Balanchine composed his version of the show for the New York City Ballet in 1954. As a child, Balanchine danced the role of the Prince in a Russian production of the ballet.
1964

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In the book that inspired the ballet, Clara never comes home at the end.
true
The book version of the story is much harsher than the ballet. Clara's parents are much tougher in the book, and she decides not to return home when the story concludes.
false

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Maurice Sendak once designed costumes for a production of "The Nutcracker."
true
The beloved children's author and illustrator was chosen to design the costumes for the Northwest Pacific Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" in 1983.
false

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What skater starred in "The Nutcracker: A Fantasy on Ice?"
Dorothy Hamill
Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill starred opposite Robin Cousins in the 1983 production, which moved the ballet from the stage to the skating rink.
Peggy Fleming
Oksana Baiul

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What is a Mirliton?
candy
flower
instrument
The Dance of the Mirlitons -- or reed pipes -- takes its name from a simple kazoo-like instrument known as the mirliton.

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What 1940 Disney film incorporated music from "The Nutcracker?"
"Fantasia"
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite features in "Fantasia," where fairies and hippos dance through fields of mushrooms. The film was ahead of its time, using music from "The Nutcracker" four years before the ballet was ever performed in the U.S.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
"Steamboat Willie"

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Who breaks the nutcracker early on in the story?
Clara
Fritz
Fritz breaks the nutcracker during a tussle with Clara. In some versions, Herr Drosselmeier repairs his creation. In others, Clara mends the nutcracker with her hair ribbon.
Louisa

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"The Nutcracker" was Tchaikovsky's third ballet.
true
Take about prolific. Tchaikovsky wrote the music for both "Sleeping Beauty" and "Swan Lake" before taking on "The Nutcracker," his third ballet.
false

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What role is Keira Knightley set to play in the 2018 live-action Disney version of "The Nutcracker?"
Clara
Mother Ginger
Sugarplum Fairy
Disney announced in 2016 that Keira Knightley would play the Sugarplum Fairy. For those wondering about the whole ballet thing -- Misty Copeland is also set to star in the production.

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