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NutcrackerOnes that actually do it for you?


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#91 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 10:31 AM

So ... is your point that Balanchine's Nutcracker is not ballet because of the large amounts of mime dancing in it? Even though the first act contains children's ballet dancing, which is not on pointe?

How about Fokine's Scheherazade? Is that not a ballet?

If you read my statement above with what i think it should be included in a choreographic work to be called a Ballet work, you'll have the answer. The way your question goes, asking about "Balanchine's Nutcracker", contains itself the concept of the whole thing, including Act II with its pointwork. So there...it already falls into the requirements for a "yes".
Now, on the other side, if I am presented with an isolated 3 minuts excerpt of a chunk of a bunch of little kids running around-(doesn't matter if it's Balanchine or not, Nutcracker or not)-without the rest, meaning that it would be, let's say, the "party scene excerpt from Balanchine's Nutcracker", then I really couldn't have the same answer. What about if I'm not familiar with Balanchine's kids scene...what about if someone is not familiar with the whole Nutcracker whatsoever...? At the end, it would be just that...a bunch of kids running around-(and again...maybe even it would be impossible for me to identify it as Balanchine, if I'm not told before that it is his choreography).
I have had the same trouble with things like Villella's "Nine Sinatra's Songs". I can't understand why is it called "Ballet". For me it doesn't look different at all from what I've always seen as Ballroom Dancing.
About Sheherezade, I can't really speak about, having never seen it, nor would I dare to go as far as questioning Fokine. That really goes beyond my knowledge, which, of course, is extremely limited. I'm not an expert, nor did a came with the "official" denominations of what a Ballet is vs. a Choreographic Work. In Spanish we never use the word "dancer" within the Ballet domains-(there's not even a translation for it)-so i guess that makes it simpler for us, whereas i see that sometimes here in US people talk about "Ballet Dancer" or "Ballerina" with the same meaning at times. In Cuba we call the women who dance on her toes "Bailarina", and the male who dances in a Classical Ballet Company "Bailarin". They don't belong to the same category as those who dance in other companies-(folk/contemp./modern...etc, even it they can point their toes the same)
But now I'm intrigued with Sheherezade. I will try to find Youtube clips of it-(I know there is a reconstruction in DVd done by Liepa)-to see what's going on.

#92 Goldfish17

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 10:42 AM

I think the ballet should be enjoyable to adults, but it should bring back childhood memories, or at least a feeling of warmth and nostalgia. Tchaikovsky, one of the most emotional of composers, made the Nutcracker score by turns playful and gentle. Grigorivich's sledgehammer style of choreography just doesn't work, in my opinion. And memories of great individual performances are not the same as evaluating choreography.


Grigorovich's Nutcracker bring back bring back a plenty of wonderful childhood memories to me. I watched many different artists dancing in it - and I feel that Grigorovich's choreography is both deep and magical. :wub:

I was just wondering - how long ago and where did you see this performance?

#93 Mel Johnson

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 10:45 AM

In my opinion, a good Nutcracker has a lot in common with E.T. The Extraterrestial. Would the latter show have been good with Elliott portrayed by a 32-year-old? (Oh, wait, wasn't that Close Encounters of the Third Kind?) Could it, and other shows with juvenile protagonists survive the proposed "3-minute excerpt" test? I really doubt it.

And I must agree with canbelto. I get no kick from Grigorivich's version, but that's another De Gustibus statment, and hence, not really arguable.

#94 Goldfish17

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 10:58 AM

As I mentioned elsewhere, "The Nutcracker" is a ballet for adults not for children and it is a pity to see it being given in something like a pantomime which it most definitely is not.

I absolutely agree. In my opinion, Nutcracker is much deeper then just children's Christmas story.
Of couse, it does not mean that children can not injoy it. :wub:

#95 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:00 AM

In my opinion, a good Nutcracker has a lot in common with E.T. The Extraterrestial. Would the latter show have been good with Elliott portrayed by a 32-year-old? (Oh, wait, wasn't that Close Encounters of the Third Kind?) Could it, and other shows with juvenile protagonists survive the proposed "3-minute excerpt" test? I really doubt it.

:wub:

#96 Quiggin

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:17 PM

In my opinion, a good Nutcracker has a lot in common with E.T. The Extraterrestial.


The original ETA Hoffmann story--actually a warren of stories--could also be a sort of a reverse "Wizard of Oz," with Marie more or less wanting to stay on rather than wanting to get home. (The question then being, of course, how old should Judy Garland/Marie/Clara be played.)

In Hoffmann there is no big party, no extraneous children, just a visit from Godfather Drosselmeier, something of a Dr. Coppelius, who brings wonderful mechanical toys and toy tableaus, which perhaps tease out the idea of free will. According to the Dumas version, unlike doctors who make live things dead, Drosselmeyer makes dead things come to life. And Drosselmeier doesn't bring Nutcracker, Marie finds him on the tree--his double in the "live" scenes is Drosselmeier's nephew. Nutcracker gets broken not out of Fritz's jealousy, but by being forced to break more nuts than he can "chew."

Anyway it's not all talk and mime and there is indeed in the original Nutcracker "a very pretty ballet" done by shepherds and shepherdesses.

"Forgive me, said the Nutcracker, dearest Demoiselle Stahlbaum, for doing such a miserable dance. You see the dancers all came from our marionette ballet, which is controlled by wires, and which can only do the same things over and over again. There are also good reasons why the hunters were so drowsy and feeble in their blowing..."


Except for the poetry of Balanchine's version--the mysterious tree coming into its own--I would think the pristine Fedorova (/Alonso?) version would do it for me these days...Except if the Nutcracker were too pure, what means would be left for all the students of ballet all over the world make their stage debuts?

#97 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:16 PM

Except for the poetry of Balanchine's version--the mysterious tree coming into its own--I would think the pristine Fedorova (/Alonso?) version would do it for me these days...

Amen.

#98 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:33 PM

Here are a couple of clips from Act I of the Cuban version that I often refer to, which "does it" for me. The first clips shows Clara and the Nutcracker dancing just before the Snow Scene. The second one is the beginning of Act II, including the Nutcracker's "mime".



Hey, thanks for posting these here. Interesting stuff. So much dancing! I'm used to seeing mostly mime during these parts and the Christmas tree growing in the first clip, of course. If this is your standard, I bet most other productions bore you quite a bit.

...well, yeah..certainly. Oh, and i forgot to mention the mice too, which are also danced on pointe by adults...A plus-(on my standards)
Here...a glimpse.
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#99 richard53dog

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 02:42 PM

Here are a couple of clips from Act I of the Cuban version that I often refer to, which "does it" for me. The first clips shows Clara and the Nutcracker dancing just before the Snow Scene. The second one is the beginning of Act II, including the Nutcracker's "mime".



Hey, thanks for posting these here. Interesting stuff. So much dancing! I'm used to seeing mostly mime during these parts and the Christmas tree growing in the first clip, of course. If this is your standard, I bet most other productions bore you quite a bit.

...well, yeah..certainly. Oh, and i forgot to mention the mice too, which are also danced on pointe by adults...A plus-(on my standards)
Here...a glimpse.
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related



Hmmmmm......I think I'll pass. Not sure why that one clip is called a "mime" scene. A lot of sword swishing, not much else.

#100 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 03:06 PM

Here are a couple of clips from Act I of the Cuban version that I often refer to, which "does it" for me. The first clips shows Clara and the Nutcracker dancing just before the Snow Scene. The second one is the beginning of Act II, including the Nutcracker's "mime".



Hey, thanks for posting these here. Interesting stuff. So much dancing! I'm used to seeing mostly mime during these parts and the Christmas tree growing in the first clip, of course. If this is your standard, I bet most other productions bore you quite a bit.

...well, yeah..certainly. Oh, and i forgot to mention the mice too, which are also danced on pointe by adults...A plus-(on my standards)
Here...a glimpse.
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related



Hmmmmm......I think I'll pass. Not sure why that one clip is called a "mime" scene. A lot of sword swishing, not much else.

True. That's why I used the quotation marks-("mime")-...I guess there's the intention to "tell" something, but giving the most weight to the dancing...Yes, it is not the Nut's extended mime used by Balanchine which is so familiar by American audiences.

#101 Helene

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 03:23 PM

I'm generally not big on psychological takes on classics -- I HATED the Kirkland/Baryshnikov/Minz version -- but I have a fondness for Kent Stowell's version. Because the Maurice Sendak sets are edgy, they are a great setting for Stowell's take, in which I think he depicts the fears and wishes of a puebescent girl, caught between childhood and adulthood quite convincingly. I very disappointed I missed it this year due to the snow :off topic:

#102 EAW

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 04:02 PM

Thanks for the clips, but I don't find them convincing. What helps make a ballet a ballet isn't how many steps or how much pointework there is, but how the movement and action relate to the music. That pas de deux in front of the Christmas tree is very nice and the dancers look good, but it appears trivial and is dwarfed by Tchaikovsky's soaring music - a huge crescendo written to support what Balanchine used it for, the magically growing tree and crashing together of the giant window panes. This is a great BALLET moment; no quantity or quality of jumps, turns and lifts can touch it. If Balanchine had made nothing but Act One of The Nutcracker, he'd still be Balanchine.

#103 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 04:23 PM

If Balanchine had made nothing but Act One of The Nutcracker, he'd still be Balanchine.

No doubt about it my friend...! :off topic: (But ditto with the non-convincing feeling relating the rotating bed and the flying thing at the end. Never been a fan of those devices)

#104 volcanohunter

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 04:29 PM

...Tchaikovsky's soaring music - a huge crescendo written to support what Balanchine used it for, the magically growing tree and crashing together of the giant window panes. This is a great BALLET moment; no quantity or quality of jumps, turns and lifts can touch it.

Yes, it is literally breathtaking. I was completely overwhelmed by the transformation the very first time I saw it. Mind you, Balanchine didn't need stagecraft to do it. The first time I saw the second movement of Concerto Barocco I had the air knocked out of me in exactly the same way.

#105 richard53dog

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 05:35 PM

...Tchaikovsky's soaring music - a huge crescendo written to support what Balanchine used it for, the magically growing tree and crashing together of the giant window panes. This is a great BALLET moment; no quantity or quality of jumps, turns and lifts can touch it.

Yes, it is literally breathtaking. I was completely overwhelmed by the transformation the very first time I saw it. Mind you, Balanchine didn't need stagecraft to do it. The first time I saw the second movement of Concerto Barocco I had the air knocked out of me in exactly the same way.



Well, I think Balanchine just had an incredible sense of movement, not just limited to steps as such, but just the concept of movement


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