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Nutcracker Reports


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#1 sandik

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 12:11 PM

Many of us will be seeing Nutcrackers soon and I thought it might be interesting to have a spot where we could talk about them together, rather than separately in threads for different companies. This might not be the right place to put if -- if not, could a moderator please move this thread -- but let's compare notes. Whose are you seeing, what did you like about it, what did you think was distinctive about it, what do you think it could be doing differently?

#2 sandik

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 08:49 PM

Amongst all the hubbub here about the incoming artistic director, current director and choreographer Kent Stowell will be performing Drosselmeyer a few times during the run, including the opening performance this weekend.

I know that Nutcracker often has a plethora of guest performers -- in Seattle we've had local celebrities (including sports figures) as parents during the party scene. What kind of special guests does your local Nut include?

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 09:43 PM

Thanks for starting this, Sandi -- I hope some of our shy Frequent Posters will chime in!!

DC has about 79 Nutcrackers (give or take a baker's dozen) at last count. Two biggies are the Joffrey Ballet's, which opens Wednesday at the Kennedy Center, and a brand new production by the Washington Ballet. Haven't heard of any guest stars yet. One might think that some enterprising Senator (or ex-Senator) might want to take the part of Drosselmeyer -- How about Senator Byrd of West Virginia? But no one ever does.

#4 Old Fashioned

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 10:46 AM

Marcello Gomez is guesting with Houston Ballet. He'll be dancing opposite Kelly Myernick (Snow Queen) and Mireille Hassenboehler and Sara Webb (Sugar Plum Fairies).

#5 vrsfanatic

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 01:01 PM

It would be great to see Marcelo and Sara together again. I do not think they have danced together in 10 years since their graduation from Harid in 1995! It should be a very special show!

#6 greyhound

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 03:04 PM

One of the many Nutcrackers in the D.C. area is being presented by Abigail Francisco School of Classical. This Nutcracker will star Sascha Radetsky, soloist with ABT, as the Cavalier & Stephanie Walz, soloist with Maximum Dance Company, as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

#7 greyhound

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 03:06 PM

oops...That is "Abigail Francisco School of Classical Ballet"

#8 Georgia

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 09:28 AM

I saw Boston Ballet's Nutcracker this weekend at the Colonial Theatre which is less than half the size of the Wang (their usual theatre). I felt like it was also half the performance. What a disappointment. It was sparse, choppy and sterile. It didn't flow very well, with awkward pauses scattered throughout the second half. And for some reason they cast a fully grown male and female to play the roles of Fritz and Clara. I know some ballet companies do that but I don't know why. Clara and Fritz are supposed to be children and they looked ridiculous next to the actual children who played their peers in the party scene. Fritz was a foot taller than the other party boys and I felt embarrassed for him. Hopefully it will improve when they move in the new bigger venue next year.

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 09:56 AM

Thanks for these -- and welcome, greyhound!

Georgia, I've been curious about the Boston Ballet's new "Nutcracker" -- I agree with you about adults playing kids. Especially when you have real kids next to them, I think it looks silly. How was the second act?

#10 Georgia

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 10:31 AM

The second act was as disappointing as the first act. They have been advertising the new choreography all fall but all I noticed is how sparse it looked. They had fewer dancers in the snow and flower scenes, which, for some reason, made it seem less professional. There were uncomfortable pauses between scenes that made me think that someone wasn't ready, but who knows. I feel bad, like kicking them when their down, but they really need to do better if they are going to compete against the Rockettes. The dancers seemed like they were on autopilot. The Sugarplum Fairy was flawless. The Dewdrop Fairy was annoying for some reason. My daughter (a young dancer) thought she had "no form." Arabian and Russian were excellent, they were the highlights of the night and big crowd pleasers. The Nutcracker has BIG competition from the Rockettes for the first time this year and I think they have their work cut out for them.

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 10:59 AM

Thanks! The pauses may be just part of the settling in process, and the dancers may look more engaged, too, when they've had a few performances. Fingers crossed!

#12 Old Fashioned

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 12:08 PM

It would be great to see Marcelo and Sara together again. I do not think they have danced together in 10 years since their graduation from Harid in 1995! It should be a very special show!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hopefully if someone here sees that cast they'll report back to tell us how it went! I won't be able to catch them dance (I'll be out of town again), but I might get to see him with Mimi.

Quoted from Houston Chronicle:

"He's a generous partner, and I thought he and Mimi would make quite a power couple.  She's just returning from surgery, so it's nice to have him here to help give her a big 'arrival.'  He does his final set of shows with Sara, which will be fun for them because they've known each other a long time." [Welch]


HB Nutcracker Casting

A few corps girls will have the opportunity to dance leading roles. Lisa Kacsmarek will be the Sugar Plum Fairy for one matinee performance, and Bridgett Zehr, Jaquel Charlesworth, and newcomer Nao Kusuzaki, who I have yet to see, will be Snow Queens.

#13 sandik

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 03:29 PM

And for some reason they cast a fully grown male and female to play the roles of Fritz and Clara.  I know some ballet companies do that but I don't know why.  Clara and Fritz are supposed to be children and they looked ridiculous next to the actual children who played their peers in the party scene.  Fritz was a foot taller than the other party boys and I felt embarrassed for him.  Hopefully it will improve when they move in the new bigger venue next year.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Pacific Northwest Ballet's production walks a middle path, with a child Clara in the first act, and an adult in the second (who gets the Sugar Plum Fairy music). The child comes back at the very end, when she wakes up from her dream.

#14 Old Fashioned

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 03:51 PM

The Stevenson production casts adults in the role of Fritz and Clara. Some dancers can be quite convincing as children; usually the shortest dancers are cast in the parts. Sometimes it's intended that Clara is portrayed on the verge of womanhood, as she is in the HB, Royal Ballet, and Baryshnikov Nutcrackers.

I do agree, though, that I prefer seeing actual children in those roles.

#15 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 04:02 PM

I'm jumping on the bandwagon against adults playing children, too. It rarely works. But what really drives me up a wall is Drosselmeyer appearing after the transformation. Don't people read the background when they stage these things? The Nutcracker is a doppelganger for Drosselmeyer, and when the scene transforms, he's supposed to be changed into the Nutcracker Prince.


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