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SFB's Nutcracker at the moviesDecember 22, 2007


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#16 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 01:11 PM

I would like to have seen this, and I will wait patiently for the PBS (or other network) broadcast.

But, PeggyR, why former dancers as dance directors? Why not some ballet fans, too? For example, have you seen any of Merrill Brockway's work? He directed Dance in America for many years, including the four "Choreography by Balanchine" programs, to some acclaim, I think, not that I agree with every detail in his work (I can always quibble!), and he never danced as far as I know, but trained in the University of Indiana Conservatory of Music, IIRC. He was often in Balanchine's theatre, and not in connection with a television project, by any means.

I don't know about Matthew Diamond's sensitivity to ballet, having seen some of his first Dance in America shows, which looked very busy and cut up, but Helene's detailed account of the action leads me to think we can see pretty well and gives me hope.

But if your meaning is, let's have the project in the hands of people sensitive to dance values, then, yes, by all means! Watching some dance on screeen, I wonder, What were they thinking? Recently, Morris's Mozart Dances, for example.

Sometimes I think dancers and ex-dancers are not exactly the best ones, for that matter. I remember reading years ago positive comments by Paul Taylor and by Twyla Tharp when their dances were shown on television in what friends and I thought were quite cut-up treatments; of course, it was probably all publicity for the broadcast, and maybe they were pleased (I hope so), but I was left wondering why. Maybe on the "There's no such thing as bad publicity" theory, and even an obscuring presentation on television probably sells tickets.

But some remarks by former dancers have led me to think yet again that they often see things differently from fans, some apparently thinking that closeups, which don't let us see a dancer's movement fully, are a good thing, or that showing one side of the stage or the other, when the whole stage is active, is the way to go.

Sometimes I think the answer to the "What were they thinking?" question is, "Making a commercial," where so many of the images rudely come straight at you, and rapid cutting from one shot to another is the norm, as though the only point to the excercise were promotion. Would a calm presentation of the dancing be less effective promotion? I'd love to read careful investigations into this question, the relation of -- well, with the Internet, we can no longer just say "television", right? -- the relation of dance on screen to audiences in seats.

But to return to the topic of Nutcracker in cinemas, I remember when Warner Brothers released George Balanchine's The Nutcracker here, it closed in midweek, the audiences were so poor. The only first-run film I've ever heard of to do that. Procrastinator that I am sometimes, I didn't get a chance to go and experience the audience reactiion, such as it was. Streaming out the door, evidently. *sigh*

#17 Helene

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 01:04 AM

The SFB Nutcracker was broadcast on PBS in Seattle tonight. One second viewing, for me the waltz of the flowers and the grand pas de deux really dragged, although Karapetyan and Kochetkova danced beautifully.

The only part I remember from the Christensen version that I saw during the Nutcracker run from just before War Memorial was closed for seismic refitting was the Waltz of the Flowers and how the costumes were different colors and the choreography grouped the colors so beautifully. In my memory that section was much more live and vivid than in the new version.

The friend who watched it with me told me he's going to try to go to San Francisco to see it live. He was as taken with the opening as scenes as I was.

#18 volcanohunter

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 01:34 PM

The SFB Nutcracker was broadcast on PBS in Seattle tonight. One second viewing, for me the waltz of the flowers and the grand pas de deux really dragged, although Karapetyan and Kochetkova danced beautifully.

I watched the same broadcast. This morning the Paris Opera Ballet's performance of Nureyev's production aired for the third time, and in comparison Tomasson's waltz and pas de deux positively gush and flow.

#19 Helene

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 04:19 PM

The SFB Nutcracker was broadcast on PBS in Seattle tonight. One second viewing, for me the waltz of the flowers and the grand pas de deux really dragged, although Karapetyan and Kochetkova danced beautifully.

I watched the same broadcast. This morning the Paris Opera Ballet's performance of Nureyev's production aired for the third time, and in comparison Tomasson's waltz and pas de deux positively gush and flow.

Oh, dear!


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