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Funny Face

Sugarplum Dreams

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Forgive me if this has been discussed elsewhere (I did a search and didn't come up with anything), but I just finished watching "Sugarplum Dreams," the documentary about the Indiana U. students working with children on The Nutcracker and the final performance (all in excerpts), and am wondering if anyone else has seen this (on PBS). It's dated 2003, so I know it's a recent film.

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FunnyFace, was this broadcast as part of Great Performances, a special, or stand-alone show? I'll check our public listings...recently, every time I've turned them on, I've caught them "mid-beg" for funding...so haven't been as aware of their listings. (There's talk here of having a "beg-free" channel for those of us who support Public TV...but I think I'd have to upgrade my cable...and I'm just too durn cheap!)

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This was a 'stand alone' documentary on the alternate PBS channel we have here. It's available through Indiana U. for 19.95 by calling 1-800-662-3311. Overall, the film is quite good, really doing a comprehensive job of taking you through all aspects of making the performance come together, including the tension and incredible amount of work associated with the stage crew. You see each age group rehearsing and different people, including parents, comment about the process. The relationship between teachers and students is generally good, with a lot of positive feedback and everyone taking things quite seriously. I love the person working with the 'angels' doing a little cheer with them after their last rehearal, "Let's go angels, let's go angels, let's go angels, gooooo angels!" The children were clearly excited.

Two small criticisms: 1. I was disturbed by the jewelry being worn by several of the leads while practicing partnering (one male had facial piercings and rings on both hands while his partner had dangling earrings and a necklace; another male had a big fat wristwatch and the female dangling earrings and a necklace); 2. I expected that the college students would be better spoken. It's so important for dancers to learn how to articulate their thoughts vocally as well as through their bodies.

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In So Cal, it will be on Channel 58 (KLCS) at 9pm on Monday (Dec. 22). I've programmed my vcr to record it since I will be at ballet. Can't wait to see it, though.

If you go onto www.pbs.org, you can do a search to see if your local station is airing Sugar Plum Dreams.

And don't forget, KCET (Channel 28) in Los Angeles will be airing the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker on Wed.

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