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#1 Jazzie135

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 01:08 PM

Hello - I am introducing someone to the fabulous ballet dance "entertainment" - performing arts. I am trying to get the reviews for Ballet Florida and Miami City Ballet this year. They are difficult to compare - she is so critical of anything that has to do with dance or music. It must be from her past of being a Rockette in NY in the 1940's! Anyone have a opinion or review as to which Ballet may have a better performance this year of the Nutcracker?
Thanks - Jazzie

#2 Giannina

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:36 AM

Welcome to Ballet Talk, Jazzie135; we are glad to have you with us.

In our Archives (which can read but not add comments) you will find American ballet companies; Nutcracker reviews can be found there. You can also access the ballet companys' web sites. Since this is a welcoming forum it doesn't get much traffic; you could pose your question on another forum.

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#3 bart

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 08:00 AM

Hello - I am introducing someone to the fabulous ballet dance "entertainment" - performing arts. I am trying to get the reviews for Ballet Florida and Miami City Ballet this year. They are difficult to compare - she is so critical of anything that has to do with dance or music. It must be from her past of being a Rockette in NY in the 1940's! Anyone have a opinion or review as to which Ballet may have a better performance this year of the Nutcracker?
Thanks - Jazzie

Welcome to Ballet Talk, Jazzie135. Sounds like your friend is providing quite a challenge.

As Giannina says, we do have threads on former Miami and Ballet Florida performances. For everything up to last spring, the Archives (bottom of Home Page) is best. You'll find an extensive discussion of this season's Miami Jewels by using the Search button above and typing in Miami.

I don't believe we've had reviews of either company's Nutcracker. Try Google for the Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News for how they covered past performances. On YouTube you can see a brief promotional video for the Ballet Florida version. To search for it, type in "Marie Hale's The Nutcracker."

I've seen both productions, and here are some thoughts.

Miami uses the Balanchine version -- by far the more artistic, difficult, and impressive choreography. MCB's dancers are mostly Balanchine-trained, and they dance at very near a world-class level. If you're looking for a memorable Sugarplum, or even Candy Cane or Marzipan Shepardess, the choice should be Miami. Miami has 50-plus dancers. That's an advantage, but it also means that the bigger ensembles sometimes have difficulty fitting the Kravis stage as comfortably as they should.

The Ballet Florida choreography is credited to the company's founder and director Marie Hale. It covers most of the bases, but in a less challenging (and consquently less thrilling) choreographic fashion -- suitable for the semi-professional company bulked up by large numbers of non- or semi-professionals, students, kids, etc. For a small company -- 23 or so professional dancers -- it's an astonishing effort: a big, handsome, and rich production with a coherent story and lots of action. The "kid factor" at Ballet Florida is a definite plus. They also have some striking stage effects: for instance, the arrival of Arabian on a flying carpet is so much fun that you don't necessarily notice how little he and his partner actually dance once he lands. I believe there are 4 casts. If you can find out about casting ahead of time, I'd go for Tina Martin or Yumelia Garcia as Sugarplum and Stephanie Rapp as Marie. Joseph Buchek is a splendid and quite sympathetic Drosselmeyer.

As to music, Miami will be accompanied by its really fine orchestra. Ballet Florida has a recording. That's a very important issue for me, but perhaps not for your friend.

I plan on enjoying both productions this year. I hope your friend has a good time at whichever one you choose. (Personally, I'd prepare her for the fact that NEITHER looks or feels like the Radio City Christmas show.)

I also hope that you will post your reactions here so that the rest of us can enjoy the followup to your question.

#4 Jazzie135

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 08:30 PM

Hello - I am introducing someone to the fabulous ballet dance "entertainment" - performing arts. I am trying to get the reviews for Ballet Florida and Miami City Ballet this year. They are difficult to compare - she is so critical of anything that has to do with dance or music. It must be from her past of being a Rockette in NY in the 1940's! Anyone have a opinion or review as to which Ballet may have a better performance this year of the Nutcracker?
Thanks - Jazzie

Welcome to Ballet Talk, Jazzie135. Sounds like your friend is providing quite a challenge.

As Giannina says, we do have threads on former Miami and Ballet Florida performances. For everything up to last spring, the Archives (bottom of Home Page) is best. You'll find an extensive discussion of this season's Miami Jewels by using the Search button above and typing in Miami.

I don't believe we've had reviews of either company's Nutcracker. Try Google for the Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News for how they covered past performances. On YouTube you can see a brief promotional video for the Ballet Florida version. To search for it, type in "Marie Hale's The Nutcracker."

I've seen both productions, and here are some thoughts.

Miami uses the Balanchine version -- by far the more artistic, difficult, and impressive choreography. MCB's dancers are mostly Balanchine-trained, and they dance at very near a world-class level. If you're looking for a memorable Sugarplum, or even Candy Cane or Marzipan Shepardess, the choice should be Miami. Miami has 50-plus dancers. That's an advantage, but it also means that the bigger ensembles sometimes have difficulty fitting the Kravis stage as comfortably as they should.

The Ballet Florida choreography is credited to the company's founder and director Marie Hale. It covers most of the bases, but in a less challenging (and consquently less thrilling) choreographic fashion -- suitable for the semi-professional company bulked up by large numbers of non- or semi-professionals, students, kids, etc. For a small company -- 23 or so professional dancers -- it's an astonishing effort: a big, handsome, and rich production with a coherent story and lots of action. The "kid factor" at Ballet Florida is a definite plus. They also have some striking stage effects: for instance, the arrival of Arabian on a flying carpet is so much fun that you don't necessarily notice how little he and his partner actually dance once he lands. I believe there are 4 casts. If you can find out about casting ahead of time, I'd go for Tina Martin or Yumelia Garcia as Sugarplum and Stephanie Rapp as Marie. Joseph Buchek is a splendid and quite sympathetic Drosselmeyer.

As to music, Miami will be accompanied by its really fine orchestra. Ballet Florida has a recording. That's a very important issue for me, but perhaps not for your friend.

I plan on enjoying both productions this year. I hope your friend has a good time at whichever one you choose. (Personally, I'd prepare her for the fact that NEITHER looks or feels like the Radio City Christmas show.)

I also hope that you will post your reactions here so that the rest of us can enjoy the followup to your question.



Bart,

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I searched endlessly yesterday on the net for any response and couldn't find what was so simply stated by you!

Yes I agree that MCB has what I'm looking for. I've heard that they had trouble fitting on the Kravis stage before, but I enjoy the Balanchine version so well that there really is only one choice.

I'll keep you posted as to the reaction of my "friend". Thanks for the warning on the Radio City Christmas show. She'll appreciate the fact that someone still remembers Radio City!

#5 bart

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 11:34 AM

I hope you both have a great time, Jazzie, 135.

Another member, Iwatchthecorps, has started a thread for the MCB Nutcracker on the "Recent Performances" forum. When you and others -- and, who knows, maybe even your friend :( -- see it, that will be the place to post your thoughts. Good to have another MCB'r on Ballet Talk! :sweatingbullets:


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