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Nutcracker - NYCB - 12/15


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#1 liebs

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Posted 16 December 2001 - 09:04 PM

Last night's performance was delightful, marred only by a weak perfomance by Bouree as Sugarplum. I was sitting in the orchestra, which I rarely do, and I could see her shaking with nerves throughout the ppd. Hubbe gave her good support, even providing the complete impetus for the supported pirouettes something one rarely sees at NYCB. But its hard to enjoy the climactic moments of the ballet when the ballerina is so nervous.

Got to go - more later.

#2 Michael

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 12:16 PM

I'll tack on to your post Liebs to report that in Sunday's matinee performance (the one after your post) Ashley Bouder was extraordinary as Dewdrop, giving beautiful weight and balance to the choreography. She knows how to use stillness as well as movement within a series of steps to shape the choreography, in particular yesterday drawing out the balances in high attitude beyond (almost) what seems humanly possible (cf. Paloma Herrera). But also her performance had so much detail. For instance, I'd never noticed that right at the very beginning of the Waltz of the Flowers Dewdrop is in the middle of the circle, kneeling, then softly brushes the floor and rises, with the relevee bringing the entire dance to life, as (I suppose) the dew is said to animate the flowers. I must have seen this dance 50 times, but I'd never truly SEEN this detail in the choreography before until yesterday. Even subtracting or allowing for my own occasionally excessive enthusiasm, she's amazing.

On the other hand, Taylor and Orza had a hard time Sunday afternoon with the grand pas de deux. I'm not sure what their problem was but their performances were way off the level they were at the prior weekend.

In general it's my impression that Act II is getting a bit more ragged since the opening weeks, as the company endlessly performs it.

However, attendance is superb right now. What with post-9/11 anxieties, it was tentative at the beginning of the run, but suddnely every performance seems jammed. This is usually the time the crowds start to thin, as people like to go to the Nutcracker during the holiday season, but not right during the holidays themselves as they approach. This year it's just the opposite -- the end of the run is selling out and NYCB is having a super Nutcracker season attendance-wise.

[ December 17, 2001: Message edited by: Michael1 ]



#3 liebs

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 05:16 PM

More on Sat. night's performance. Contrary to Michae'ls experience, the second act was great with some wonderful casting. Riggins was scheduled for Marzipan, then replaced by Edge but ultimately the role was danced by Bouder. She did a great job with her springy, effortless jump abd seemed to be enjoying herself but I would have liked to see a little more sweetness and charm in her performance - she was a little dry.

Millepied was a terrific Candy Cane, musically incisive with that great jump. Every jump was held in the air for a moment like a flash photo - an exciting performance. Ash danced Coffee with a focus that one rarely sees in that role. She really drew the audience in with her intensity and the lovely shape of her dancing. Sometimes this solo seems long to me but not on Sat.

Van Kipnis danced Dew Drop with complete and luxurious confidence, every balance held til the last possible moment but never beyond the bounds of the music or of good taste. She clearly flet the music and her turns and runs were particularly lovely. I wonder what she and Millepied would be like as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier?

This was the first time I had seen Alexander Ritter as Drosselmeyer and I was very impressed. He seemed to inhabit the role, always aware and reacting to what was happening around him unlike some of the dancers who are party guests and seem to just stop paying attention when they don't have a specific action to perform. When Ritter entered he immediately reminded me of some one but I couldn't really put my finger on it. I finally realized that he reminded me of Balanchine in the makeup for Don Quixote.

As other posters have said, the Snow scene looked terrific. Your realize the depth a talent at NYCB when in addition to those I've already discussed you see a performance like Saturday's, which has Elizabeth Walker in Snow, Carla Korbes as a party guest, Rachel Rutherford and Stephen Hanna in Spanish, Jennifer Tinsely as a demi in the Waltz of the Flowers and a corp which includes dancers like Abi Stafford and Elena Stein to name just two.

I'm lucky to live in NY.

#4 Michael

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 09:04 PM

Pascale Van Kipnis and Ben Millepied would indeed be wonderful in those roles.

Have you noticed how every Drosselmeyer performs/mimes something different? Alex Ritter performs his sympathetic magic (exapanding everything) over the Nutcracker doll after he has first elaborately placed it on the ground at Stage Left. Stuart Capps, on the other hand, spends a lot of time with the screwdriver and then casts his spell over the doll holding it in his right hand, while he mimes over it with his left. Kramerevsky either omits the entire schtik or casts his spell over the crib. I love that role. Alex Ritter uses his facial expressions very well while miming, it seems to me that that is so important in mime -- that the eyes and face must convey a lot in that way. He's the best of the Drosselmeyers.


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