Tune of the Day: Dance of the Mirlitons
Also known as “Dance of the Reed-Flutes”, or “Marzipan”, this is one of the most famous numbers from The Nutcracker. It was originally featured in the second act of the ballet, played immediately after the also popular “Russian Dance”.
If you are wondering what a “Mirliton” is, here's a short explanation. First of all, let's make it clear: the Cajun vegetable also known as chayote has nothing to do with this dance. The French title of the piece is “Danse des Mirlitons”, and in France a “mirliton” is a small pipe-like instrument, similar to a kazoo. This is a reference to the reed-pipes that the shepherdesses depicted in the scene might have played to their flocks.
The piece is featured in the classic 1940 Disney film Fantasia. Accompanied by this gentle music, colorful flower blossoms dance on air currents until they come to rest on the surface of a stream. There, they are transformed into dancers with billowing skirts. A light breeze disturbs their dance, swirling them across the water's surface and sweeping them over a waterfall.