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Nutcracker history in Ballet Theatre...

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Ok, so maybe my Google searching wasn't that complete or something, but it doesn't seem to be a lot of info on ABT's Nutcracker, other than a brief outline of Mc Kenzie's 1993 and 2000 premieres :

http://www.abt.org/education/archive/balle...r_mckenzie.html

I've seen old pictures of dancers costumed for the Grand PDD back in the old BT days. Then, of course, there is the Misha/Kirkland version, and then Mc. Kenzie seems to follow. But...what's going on as per today? Did they drop the whole thing from the repertoire...? Maybe some memories from those stagings back then atm711...? Any possibility that ABT will be having its own production again...?

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Back in the early BT days there was not a complete Nutcracker. What was very very popular was the Act II Adagio recreated by Anton Dolin. Alonso, Markova, Hightower--they all performed it. I have a great little book by Anton Dolin-- "Pas de Deux, The Art of Partnering" and it has the complete choreography as set by Dolin.

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The problem that ABT, and quite a few other companies, had with trying to do Nutcracker is that their productions tried to make it make sense, which is kind of death to an enchantment ballet (ballet-féerie). Another downside of these productions is that, for reasons of touring, the children's parts are all danced by adults. This is really straining the original production concept. Either Nutcracker is an affirmation of childhood dreams or it's not much else except a sort of infomercial for consumerism. The kids really have to be kids, after the sort of teen fanzine genre.

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Another downside of these productions is that, for reasons of touring, the children's parts are all danced by adults. This is really straining the original production concept.

It strains credibility as well; grown-up ballet dancers, no matter how well-costumed or directed, look forced and phony playing children. Gelsey Kirkland in that old ABT production was no exception.

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Last I heard, ABT was (for some reason) still performing Kevin McKenzie's version. The nicest thing I can think of to say about the production is that the grand pas de deux was left intact.

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Another downside of these productions is that, for reasons of touring, the children's parts are all danced by adults. This is really straining the original production concept.

It strains credibility as well; grown-up ballet dancers, no matter how well-costumed or directed, look forced and phony playing children. Gelsey Kirkland in that old ABT production was no exception.

Not to mention that children in the cast bring in paying ticket-buyers in the form of friends of the performers, friends of the family, grandparents, aunts, neighbors, and anyone else who sold the child performer's family a ticket to their school fundraiser, peewee hockey team fundraiser, Boy/Girl Scout trip fundraiser, etc.

"Nutcracker" is payback time.

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Another downside of these productions is that, for reasons of touring, the children's parts are all danced by adults. This is really straining the original production concept.

It strains credibility as well; grown-up ballet dancers, no matter how well-costumed or directed, look forced and phony playing children. Gelsey Kirkland in that old ABT production was no exception.

Not to mention that children in the cast bring in paying ticket-buyers in the form of friends of the performers, friends of the family, grandparents, aunts, neighbors, and anyone else who sold the child performer's family a ticket to their school fundraiser, peewee hockey team fundraiser, Boy/Girl Scout trip fundraiser, etc.

"Nutcracker" is payback time.

Interesting...mm

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I think that this issue goes beyond the productions of Nutcracker at ABT and elsewhere, as ballet masters take the old material in Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Corsaire and all the others and try to make it make sense, or worse, be Politically Correct for today's audiences. These matters of integrity (in the sense of wholeness of the ballet, not the honesty of the stagers) touch on the whole practice of having classical ballets as repertory. What would happen if somebody tried to "update" Antony Tudor, or Eugene Loring? I mean, apart from the lawsuits? It's about stewardship.

I like Kevin McKenzie, I really do, but his "sensible" attitude toward ballet librettos (the comic banter about the Corsaire plot is a more serious symptom than was thought at the time) has led to some very bad decisions about what to interpret and how (Sleeping Beauty is a good bad example, and choosing just to revive the "Romeo and Juliet" pas de deux and leave the rest unproduced).

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Back in the early BT days there was not a complete Nutcracker. What was very very popular was the Act II Adagio recreated by Anton Dolin. Alonso, Markova, Hightower--they all performed it. I have a great little book by Anton Dolin-- "Pas de Deux, The Art of Partnering" and it has the complete choreography as set by Dolin.

In "A Ballerina Prepares", Ludmilla Scollar (who danced at the Maryinsky 1906-1921) offers "The dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" as she taught the repertoire, given in a notated form by Laurencia Klaja.

Madame Schollar taught at the School of American Ballet from 1936, Ballet Theatre School (1951-3), Washington School of Ballet (1963-5), and at the San Francisco Ballet School from 1965.

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That's the one that starts with the pas marchés battus, and is the version that Markova danced. The choreography there may be Lopukhov's.

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That's the one that starts with the pas marchés battus, and is the version that Markova danced. The choreography there may be Lopukhov's.

Schollar left Russia in 1921 two years before the Shirayev/Lopukhov production of "Nutcracker" was staged and Lopukhov's own staging took place in 1929. I am assuming she was only familiar with the Ivanov choreography but could have amended it herself of course.

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I studied with Schollar.

The variation she taught in pointe class was the familiar one identified with Markova. Years later, I was shown by Sir Anton Dolin loose sheets of score paper with what looked like the Stepanov Notation on it, and from what I could dope out from it, it was the same variation. It had written in Cyrillic at the top under the title, "Lopukhovi".

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i recently acquired a triple bill house program from a GATOB in 1920.

it begins with THE TRIALS OF DAMIS (Or, The Pranks of Love,

and continues with PAQUITA GRAND PAS

and ends with the last act of NUTCRACKER, cast as follows:

NUTCRACKER

Ballet ferrie (3rd Act)

Ivanov/Tchaikovsky

Fea Drazhe – E. P. Gerdt

Prince Koklush – B.V. Shavrov

Chocolat – Ye. E. Biber, I. N. Kusov

Café – V. K. Ivanov I. A. A. Khristanson

Thé – L. I. Bolshakova II & L. s. Petrov III, N. A. Baranovich I, L. R. Soboleva, O. N. Vlasova, L. A. Varanovich I; Polyankii – K. K. Ivanov, I.A. Summert & Ushakov

Buffons – A. I. Bocharov I & students of the theater school

Mirlitons – T. A. Troyanoskaya, Aleksnye, A. A. Dekomb, Stremloyanova, Kaukal, Tiutina, M.C. Dobrolubova, Leonieva II, & Kirkhgeyeim

Grand Ballabile – G. I. Balshakova I, Zh. A. Shimanskaya, M. F. Romanova, F. L. Dubrovskaya,

Pas de Duex – E. P. Gerdt & B. V. Shavrov

incidentally Shollar was in both TRIALS and PAQUITA

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I studied with Schollar.

The variation she taught in pointe class was the familiar one identified with Markova. Years later, I was shown by Sir Anton Dolin loose sheets of score paper with what looked like the Stepanov Notation on it, and from what I could dope out from it, it was the same variation. It had written in Cyrillic at the top under the title, "Lopukhovi".

Thanks for that very interesting information.

I should have of course remembered that Lopukhov was setting variations for leading dancers at the Maryinsky before the revolution and before he was staging productions.

I wonder if this appears as a variant to the Ivanov choreography in the Sergeyev notations and who was the first person to dance it?

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It had written in Cyrillic at the top under the title, "Lopukhovi".

:wink: I'm curious about the orthography. I wonder which case it's supposed to be.

Nom. Lopukhov

Acc. Lopukhova

Gen. Lopukhova

Dat. Lopukhovu

Instr. Lopukhovym

Prep. Lopukhove

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That's the one that starts with the pas marchés battus, and is the version that Markova danced. The choreography there may be Lopukhov's.

I always thought that Lopukhov had just merely restaged the existing Ivanov choreography. So excuse my ignorance, but if this is not the case, and his Nutcracker was rather a different choreography from the Sergueiev notated one, ...what then is being referred to as "the version that Markova danced"...? Are we talking about two different versions: Ivanov/Sergueiev/Fedorova/Markova vs. Lopukhov/Schollar/Markova...?

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The dance of hte sugar plum fairy--

THe old version (Ivanov, Petipa, or Lopukhov?) is the best -- though there are at least two of it.

As the Royal Ballet and all its derivatives dance the variation, the ballerina stays down afer the battus and goes from efface devant to effface arabesque WITHOUT releve in between --

Everybody else goes back up onto pointe there. Mary Ellen Moylan did it for Ballet Theater and is shown in it in the TINY little bit of footage of her dancing included in th "Dancing for Balanchine/6 balanchine ballerinas" program does this movement with EXQUISITE accuracy and softness. It is very rare to see anyone do it so beautifully; though the movement suits the music PERFECTLY, it is very hard to do it and keep breathing.

THE RB's version is scarcely less beautiful, but it IS much less crystalline -- and it is much easier, so the ballerina can do it with considerably less strain, and she can be that much more gracious....

WOnder which version is preferable? ANd which is the original?

Does "Lupokhovi" refer to Lupokhov or to Lupokhova? Did she have the technique to do that dance?

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the dance of hte sugar plum fairy played on the glass harmonica -- really even more heavenly than hte celesta check it out:

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Thank you thank you Paul! This troubled me for years because I thought I remembered being taught that Sugarplum Fairy was originally composed for glass harmonica... but when I brought it up about 15 years ago at a ballet company performing another piece to glass armonica, was told no, no... the celeste... and I must be mixing up Tchaikovsky with Mozart. But I see in Wikipedia Tchaikovsky's first draft called for a glass harmonica! (although apparently probably not Franklin's instrument but some sort of glass "xylophone").... ???.

At least I don't feel quite so silly now...

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It had written in Cyrillic at the top under the title, "Lopukhovi".

:wink: I'm curious about the orthography. I wonder which case it's supposed to be.

Nom. Lopukhov

Acc. Lopukhova

Gen. Lopukhova

Dat. Lopukhovu

Instr. Lopukhovym

Prep. Lopukhove

I'm always curious when I try to read Cyrillic cursive. All I can say is that it looked like a cursive и to me. I don't know who wrote it, or exactly when except before 1934.

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I would like to pick up this thread after almost two years, because I'm still intrigued about ABT's Nutcracker's gap post-Fedorova and pre-Baryshnikov.

Does anybody remembers if the ballet was done during the 60's and the 70's years before Misha's own staging...?

If so...was it still Fedorova's...?

Did Lupe Serrano ever danced in The Nutcracker...? If so...which role and who's production...?

:thanks::thanks::thanks:

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Fedorova's version wasn't Ballet Theatre; it was Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The pas de deux did make it to BT as a free-standing divertissement, all by itself. Lupe used to dance it with Royes Fernandez, and later Scott Douglas.

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Oh...NOW i get it...so I guess Mme. Alonso's references to Fedorova's abridged version from back in the days point to that of the BRMC-(from where all those pics of Danilova as the Snow Queen I've also seen come from, right...?)So then that means that ABT never had a complete Nutcracker until Baryshnikov version came along....? Wow...

So then I assume that Serrano was probably from the very last generation of ballerinas who danced the Fedorova SPF PDD, right...?

Thanks a lot, Major Mel!! :thumbsup:

Edited to add: Silly me...I should have read more carefully this...

Back in the early BT days there was not a complete Nutcracker. What was very very popular was the Act II Adagio recreated by Anton Dolin. Alonso, Markova, Hightower--they all performed it.

So thanks also, atm711..!! :flowers:

But hey, there's always something new I get to learn from all this knowledge. That story of Schollar/Lopukhov was very interesting. Would love to dig a bit more in it...

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Fedorova's version wasn't Ballet Theatre; it was Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The pas de deux did make it to BT as a free-standing divertissement, all by itself. Lupe used to dance it with Royes Fernandez, and later Scott Douglas.

I'm no expert on this, but Ballet Theatre didn't do a lot of full length ballets early on did they? Other than Giselle, my understanding was that they mostly did mixed bills.

When I saw their Swan Lake for the first time in 1969, I understood it to be still pretty new (ca 1967 or so) and also the first full length staging of the piece they did.

Similarly, their Coppelia around this same time, was also pretty new, and their first stab at the piece.

Looking at the repertory archive on their website, the only other extended work they did back throughout the 40s and 50s was Fille Mal Gardee, which appeared in various versions. (I saw the Martinez version in 1972 when it premiered and I gathered it was a bit of a distillation on the older versions BT had already done).

Also no full length Sleeping Beauty until 1976!

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