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The Nutcracker still thrives on magic and whimsy, 125 years after premiere

Tchaikovsky's ballet debuted on Dec. 18, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Initially unsuccessful, it later became global Christmas tradition.

13 PHOTOS

First lady Melania Trump watches as ballerinas perform a piece from "The Nutcracker," as the White House Christmas decorations were unveiled on Nov. 27, 2017.

Carolyn Kaster / AP
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Dancers from Australia's national ballet company rehearse on stage at the Opera House in Sydney on May 1.

David Moir / EPA
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Dancers from the Czech National Ballet wait backstage during a performance at the National Theatre in Prague, Czech Republic, on Dec. 16.

Martin Divisek / EPA
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A dancer from the Czech National Ballet stretches in a stage corner before a performance at the National Theatre in Prague on Dec. 16.

Martin Divisek / EPA
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Dancers warm up backstage in Prague on Dec. 16.

Martin Divisek / EPA
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Dancers apply make-up and add the finishing touches to their stage costumes backstage in Prague on Dec. 16.

Martin Divisek / EPA
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Stage technicians look over the performance as a dancer waits in the wings to go on stage in Prague on Dec. 16.

Martin Divisek / EPA
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Alex Grayson, Aaron Plous, Maria Kashvili, and Tenzin Niles rehearse in New York on Nov. 9, 2017. Friends and classmates at the School of American Ballet, Maria and Alex share the role of Marie in New York City Ballet's production of "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker."

Andrew White / Redux Pictures
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Members of the Houston Ballet rehearse at their studio, in Houston in November. The company had to hold their performance at Smart Financial Centre and the Hobby Center this year, and gave 10 fewer performances than usual, because its home stage at the Wortham Theater Center was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Elizabeth Conley / Houston Chronicle via AP
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Cast members rehearse at the Miami City Ballet in Miami Beach, Florida on Nov. 10. Isabel and Ruben Toledo redesigned the classic production to reflect the spirit and temperature of Miami.

Scott McIntyre / Redux Pictures
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Dancers perform at the National Theater in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Dec. 13. Multiple dance companies participated in the show, including Ballet Nacional Dominicano, Escuela Nacional de Danza (Endanza) and Ballet Concierto Dominicano.

Orlando Barria / EPA
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A dancer performs in Santo Domingo on Dec. 13.

Orlando Barria / EPA
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Dancers during a photocall for the Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Royal Ballet on Nov. 24.

Aaron Chown / Zuma Press
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