IT’S Christmas Eve and a little girl is given the present of nutcracker in the shape of a soldier. She loves her present and falls asleep while playing with it.

Then the magic starts...

The Nutcracker is a perennial Christmas favourite and quite rightly so.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia has been bringing ballet to Cardiff since 2002 but this was the first time I managed to catch them. I was not disappointed.

Having been taken by my mum to see The Nutcracker as a child, I was so excited to be seeing it again.

From the moment the orchestra played the first note of the overture, we knew we were in for something special.

When the curtains were pulled open and the dancers came onto the stage to weave their magical story, things got better and better. Even the subtly animated backdrop added to the spectacle.

This is such a well-known ballet that even those who have never been before will recognise pieces of Tchaikovsky’s score.

The rapturous reception the company got at the end of the second half was testament to the enjoyment of this mainly, it has to be said, female audience. The clapping and cheering just went on and on.

If you want to enjoy a magical Christmas performance, try not to miss this.

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia is touring the UK until April with ballets including The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake.

The Nutcraker is being performed in Cardiff up until Christmas Eve. Then from December 27 to 31 you will be able to enjoy Swan Lake before the company moves on to the next city on its extensive tour schedule.