Darn! I missed all the excitement! (I live very close to the Canadian town where they were performing). I also missed the show! Here is a link to a brief article from that paper:
http://www.thespec.com/article/297671 (this one is perhaps the same as the Miami Herald article)
http://www.thespec.com/article/297949 (this one is a bit longer, with photos of the dancers and is authored by a writer from the Hamilton Spectator)
I couldn't help but copy some fragments of Gary Smith's article for the Hamilton Spectator. Great job!
"If you ever thought The Nutcracker wasn't for hardcore dance fans, get down to Hamilton Place.For years, serious balletomanes have eschewed this annual sugar-coated romp, preferring to think of it as a seasonal ballet token.Well it's not. Not when it's danced by The National Ballet of Cuba
. A product of Alicia Alonso, this company is one of the treasures of the dance world.If any of you saw this woman dance Giselle or any of the roles she tackled, you'll know we're dealing with genius.That genius happily extends to the dance company this diva has brought to Hamilton Place.
No wonder Toronto dance fans are driving Highway 403. No wonder people are coming from Rochester and Buffalo. This is honest to goodness ballet.Now don't expect lavish sets
. This is a Cuban company, after all. They depend on the generosity of dancers and dance fans around the world to even get pointe shoes. So the sets are, well, charming. They have a fair share of wrinkles, but the wonderful thing is they are vintage in appeal, like something left over from the old Ballets Russes.
Like the rest of this production, they are shamelessly nostalgic. And that's right up my street.
There's something naive and innocent about this whole production. You wouldn't mistake it for anything but Cuban. It fuses exotic colour with an attractive Spanish influence.Mostly though, this Nutcracker is about dance.
But it's the Cuban dance stars, of course, who make you want to stand up and cheer.From Act I:
Raul Mazorra makes an animated Nutcracker partnering Annia Hidalgo as this production's Dream Clara with solicitous concern.
Sadaise Arencibia and Miguelangel Blanco are an attractive Prince and Snow Queen.From Act II
All of the divertissements of Act 2 are unique and full of choreographic vision with Livan Pujada, Maikel Hernandez and Marcos Becerra raising the rafters in The Russian Dance.
The Waltz of the Flowers, frequently a lyrical dance of surrender, becomes more linear in construction here. No matter. With Linnet Gonzalez and Jessie Dominguez tossing off triple fouettes, who cares?The biggest bravos, however, are reserved for young Taras Domitro and Hayna Gutierrez, two remarkable dancers who connect brilliantly with The Sugar Plum Fairy Variation and the airborne grandeur of her Cavalier.
-(now in Miami, in the upcoming Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami's "Swan Lake" in February!) - They find, in the thrilling undertow of the music, a point of rhapsodic release.He has the most elegant beats, lyric arms and airborne arabesque. She has rock-solid balance and feet that skim the floor like some latter-day Pavlova. Exquisite.
There is a final moment of magic when Alonso herself steps onstage for a surprise curtain call.
It reminded me of Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille receiving homage from mere mortals like myself who worshipped in the dark.
Let's hope she does it every night.For goodness sake, see this world-class Nutcracker
It will dance in your head long after Clara is safely home in her world of imagination.Gary Smith has written on theatre and dance for The Hamilton Spectator for more than 25 years.