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A wonderful NutcrackerSan Jose Ballet


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#1 desertrose17

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 08:34 PM

I was searching around and came upon this web-site. I just returned from San Jose and saw the traditional NUTCRACKER, and wondered why no one on this site has mentioned Ballet San Jose, or Dennis Nahat as a gifted and creative Choregrapher? I have seen this company over the many years, and nothing has ever been mentioned about the talented group of dancers and the accomplishments of this troupe.. Why?

#2 carbro

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 10:00 PM

Sorry, desertrose. Nothing against Ballet San Jose, but we haven't yet had posters from there. I'm happy to welcome you as our at-long-last first! :) Maybe you'll tell us some of the highlights of this Nut or single out some dancers and the qualities that set them apart. I did see, on your second post, that you found BSJ's lighting of the Snow Scene delightful!

Now that you're here, please keep us up to date with BSJ and any other ballet you might see. It's always great to know what's going on in other companies.

And I hope, too, that you'll tell us a bit about yourself on our Welcome Page!

#3 desertrose17

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:02 PM

Sorry, desertrose. Nothing against Ballet San Jose, but we haven't yet had posters from there. I'm happy to welcome you as our at-long-last first! :devil: Maybe you'll tell us some of the highlights of this Nut or single out some dancers and the qualities that set them apart. I did see, on your second post, that you found BSJ's lighting of the Snow Scene delightful!

Now that you're here, please keep us up to date with BSJ and any other ballet you might see. It's always great to know what's going on in other companies.

And I hope, too, that you'll tell us a bit about yourself on our Welcome Page!



Thank you for the nice invitation. I just happened to stumble on this web site, however, anything yu need to know about the company check out the web site. balletsanjose.org and all about the company. Each dancer has his or her own style, and they seem to all fit in every dance and character they do. The company is planning a tour to five cities in China this spring. Its the first time anything like this has ever been done. They have been invited to tour. I keep up because I am a close fan of this company since I was a kid. They used to be Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and when in San Jose they were the San Jose Cleveland ballet, sister companies for a long time. Karen Gabay has been with the company for years and still dances with utmost class and grace. Check it out sometime. They were the first company to sign on Elvis Presley music and did Blue Suede Shoes in 1997. Before that the first Rock Ballet in the middle 90's- after they did this, other companies copied their style... interesting ah?

#4 nijinsky1979

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 02:04 AM

I saw their Nutcracker when they toured in Cleveland in 2007. Their version is better than many, particularly the party scene, where so many productions can fall short.

Many small details made that scene special. For example, the adults drank champagne before dinner and red wine afterward. As for the Drosselmeyer, danced by Nahat himself when I saw it, he seemed to be simply an eccentric old man, up until the very end of the scene. He's the last to leave the party, and the double doors at the back of the stage close "magically" in front of him, while he's winking to the audience and pressing his fingers to his lips, as if to share a magical secret. I swear he was looking right at me, and I understood it! He may or may not really have been looking in my direction, it was a powerful moment nonetheless: He was revealing to the audience that he was not just eccentric but magical, and he was hinting about what was to come.

What makes their production stand out is that there are several scenery changes in the second act. Music is added and rearranged, which can annoy purists. But believe it or not, it's still pretty cohesive and impressive overall. What's the use of being a purist, anyway, when it comes to The Nutcracker? There are just too many versions out there to be fussy. I'm just glad the tradition is being carried on at all these days, given our economy. But yes, the San Jose company has a great one.

#5 bart

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 06:54 AM

Thanks, desertrose17 and nijinsky1979. It's good to hear more about this company. (And it would be fascinating to learn how a California troupe got to do the Nutcracker in Cleveland. :flowers: )

I checked out the company website. The settings and costumes of several of their performances are indeed magnificent. Here's a Link to the Nutcracker page. If you scroll down you come to a "Flash Slide Show" with marvellous closeups. I especially love the Mouse King. But no doubt everyone will have his or her own favorite.

http://balletsanjose...utcracker06.htm

Has anyone else seen this production? Or have any thoughts about the photographs?

#6 Dansuer85

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:39 AM

Bart, the company used to reside in both cities. That dissolved quite a while ago.

#7 printscess

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:44 AM

Bart, leave it to you to do the research. The photos are magnificent. Thanks so much for finding them and sharing them.

#8 Helene

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 09:49 AM

What makes their production stand out is that there are several scenery changes in the second act. Music is added and rearranged, which can annoy purists. But believe it or not, it's still pretty cohesive and impressive overall.

For most companies, "Nutcracker" is a cash cow, and spending money on extra scenery in Act II is rarely done.

Balanchine moved the Sugar Plum Fairy's solo from Grand Pas de Deux to the beginning of Act II. If moving the music around is heresy, Nahat has a venerable precedent.

Using Balanchine terminology to describe the music. I've always felt that Tea and Candy Cane, both shortish and high-energy, were not well placed next to each other, leaving the longish, delicate Marzipan to follow what is usually the most rousing music and virtuoso dancing, to be followed by the longish Polichinelles. I can understand why in Balanchine's version, Maripan and Candy Cane aren't switched, because that would put two movements with kids back-to-back, but, with the caveat that I don't know if Tchaikovsky was doing anything with key or structural progression and the following would sound off or sour (even with applause breaks), but this is what I've always envisioned:

Spanish (gotta have a warmup)
Coffee
Tea
Marzipan
Candy Cane
Polichelles
Flowers

What is the musical sequence in Ballet San Jose's version?

In the Links section, dirac and pmeja post links to articles on Ballet San Jose when they find them. But we'd love to hear from SJB watchers here.

#9 nijinsky1979

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:05 PM

Helene, I'm afraid I don't remember the sequence of the Act II divertissements. I do recall that some parts of Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien" were added. So, perhaps it was not so much rearranged but amended. My apologies.

I don't believe that rearranging this music is heresy, even though I've heard it countless times in its "proper" sequence since before I can remember. Of course, companies use the music as it behooves them, if not for especially artistic reasons, but practical ones.

Another interesting note about the San Jose "Nutcracker": A photo of its battle scene is on the cover of the Jennifer Fisher's book "Nutcracker Nation."

#10 cahill

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 10:21 AM

It has been several years since I have seen their Nutcracker but I did enjoy it. There theatre in San Jose is a great venue for ballet. Last spring I saw their last program before the company embarked on a tour to China. I was surprised that the company received so little press on that tour. They have some very nice dancers.


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