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Nutcracker choreographiesthinking of Ratmansky


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 09:48 AM

A lot, if not all, of the recent Russian versions show signs of having been frightened in infancy by the 1919-1927 versions by Gorsky. Gorsky seems to have been the one who telescoped Marianne, Clara, and the Sugar Plum Fairy from the original libretto into one, and settled on the name Masha. In the 1927 version, he seems to have featured a Snow Scene with a kickline of dancing Santa Clauses. Thank heaven some things didn't catch on!

#17 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 10:00 AM

Have you ever try to come up with the "ideal choreography" of a classic, taking bits from different versions...? Well, I do that a lot, and here's my pick for the Nutcracker.

Act I
The Party: Baryshnikov for the toys' solos and Alonso's for Clara's dancing.
The Transformation Scene: Alonso's after Fedorova. No transformation here, but instead a PDD for Clara and The Nutcracker.
The Mice Scene: Baryshnikov for the choreographed battle, Alonso's for the choreographed mice on pointe.
The Snow Scene: Vainonen's for the snowflakes choreography, Alonso's for the Snow Queen PDD

Act II
Intro- Alonso's, for the parade of Matryoshka dolls
Nutcracker's mime: Baryshnikov.
Divertissements:
Spanish Dance-Baryshnikov's couple-(ballerina on pointe)
Marzipan Merlitons Dance- Baryshnikov's couple. Love the little story of the boy disguised as a wolf sscaring away the shepperdess.
Arabian Dance-Balanchine
Candy Canes/Russian Dance-Balanchine-(thanks to Daniel Baker :clapping: )
Mother Cigogne/Polichinelles- Baryshnikov, although here they're sans Cigogne, but still love the four dancers choreography.
Waltz of the Flowers: Baryshnikov, because he gives Clara and the Nutcracker the chance to dance along with the corps-(a liberty in the libretto, I know, but one that can resolve one of the main problems of this ballet).
Sugar Plum Fairy PDD: All Ivanov descendants.
Adagio- Sir Peter Wright's, for his complete use of the music, the restoration of the cape sequence at the end and the baroque/porcelain figurines appearance of the couple, wigs included.
Male Variation: Alonso's after Fedorova, for the final entrechats.
Female Variation: Sir Peter Wright's, because he includes the coda-(which is missing from other versions)
Coda: Alonso's after Fedorova.
Ballet Finale: Still undecided, but I think I would take the original one, which is nowhere to be found.


A last minute addition: Thinking twice about the ballet finale, I would certainly like to see the original apotheosis, and I guess the closer we get to this is Balanchine's, but I prefer to see Clara waking up in her living room holding her Nutcracker doll. Not close to the libretto, but a beautiful ending. Baryshnikov's is sort of sad, and it can give you second thoughts...(I find that whole "love story feeling" quite bizarre), and Balanchine's flying troika doesn't quite "get" me... :dry:

#18 tchaikovskyfan

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 10:06 AM

Have you ever try to come up with the "ideal choreography" of a classic, taking bits from different versions...? Well, I do that a lot, and here's my pick for the Nutcracker.

Act I
The Party: Baryshnikov for the toys' solos and Alonso's for Clara's dancing.
The Transformation Scene: Alonso's after Fedorova. No transformation here, but instead a PDD for Clara and The Nutcracker.
The Mice Scene: Baryshnikov for the choreographed battle, Alonso's for the choreographed mice on pointe.
The Snow Scene: Vainonen's for the snowflakes choreography, Alonso's for the Snow Queen PDD

Act II
Intro- Alonso's, for the parade of Matryoshka dolls
Nutcracker's mime: Baryshnikov.
Divertissements:
Spanish Dance-Baryshnikov's couple-(ballerina on pointe)
Marzipan Merlitons Dance- Baryshnikov's couple. Love the little story of the boy disguised as a wolf sscaring away the shepperdess.
Arabian Dance-Balanchine
Candy Canes/Russian Dance-Balanchine-(thanks to Daniel Baker :clapping: )
Mother Cigogne/Polichinelles- Baryshnikov, although here they're sans Cigogne, but still love the four dancers choreography.
Waltz of the Flowers: Baryshnikov, because he gives Clara and the Nutcracker the chance to dance along with the corps-(a liberty in the libretto, I know, but one that can resolve one of the main problems of this ballet).
Sugar Plum Fairy PDD: All Ivanov descendants.
Adagio- Sir Peter Wright's, for his complete use of the music, the restoration of the cape sequence at the end and the baroque/porcelain figurines appearance of the couple, wigs included.
Male Variation: Alonso's after Fedorova, for the final entrechats.
Female Variation: Sir Peter Wright's, because he includes the coda-(which is missing from other versions)
Coda: Alonso's after Fedorova.
Ballet Finale: Still undecided, but I think I would take the original one, which is nowhere to be found.

Question: Can we use choreography from ballet companies that we've seen? For example, I've seen the Nutcracker in Columbus for the majority of my life and have grown up with two or three different versions of choreography from BalletMet Columbus.

EDIT: Quick side note: You completely forgot the Tea (Chinese) dance.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 10:32 AM


Have you ever try to come up with the "ideal choreography" of a classic, taking bits from different versions...? Well, I do that a lot, and here's my pick for the Nutcracker.

Act I
The Party: Baryshnikov for the toys' solos and Alonso's for Clara's dancing.
The Transformation Scene: Alonso's after Fedorova. No transformation here, but instead a PDD for Clara and The Nutcracker.
The Mice Scene: Baryshnikov for the choreographed battle, Alonso's for the choreographed mice on pointe.
The Snow Scene: Vainonen's for the snowflakes choreography, Alonso's for the Snow Queen PDD

Act II
Intro- Alonso's, for the parade of Matryoshka dolls
Nutcracker's mime: Baryshnikov.
Divertissements:
Spanish Dance-Baryshnikov's couple-(ballerina on pointe)
Marzipan Merlitons Dance- Baryshnikov's couple. Love the little story of the boy disguised as a wolf sscaring away the shepperdess.
Arabian Dance-Balanchine
Candy Canes/Russian Dance-Balanchine-(thanks to Daniel Baker :clapping: )
Mother Cigogne/Polichinelles- Baryshnikov, although here they're sans Cigogne, but still love the four dancers choreography.
Waltz of the Flowers: Baryshnikov, because he gives Clara and the Nutcracker the chance to dance along with the corps-(a liberty in the libretto, I know, but one that can resolve one of the main problems of this ballet).
Sugar Plum Fairy PDD: All Ivanov descendants.
Adagio- Sir Peter Wright's, for his complete use of the music, the restoration of the cape sequence at the end and the baroque/porcelain figurines appearance of the couple, wigs included.
Male Variation: Alonso's after Fedorova, for the final entrechats.
Female Variation: Sir Peter Wright's, because he includes the coda-(which is missing from other versions)
Coda: Alonso's after Fedorova.
Ballet Finale: Still undecided, but I think I would take the original one, which is nowhere to be found.

Question: Can we use choreography from ballet companies that we've seen? For example, I've seen the Nutcracker in Columbus for the majority of my life and have grown up with two or three different versions of choreography from BalletMet Columbus.


Well...I tried to use those BT's would be more familiar with, so they could visualize the individual sections easier...

EDIT: Quick side note: You completely forgot the Tea (Chinese) dance.


Shame on me... :blushing: . Definitely Baryshnikov...(alhough I think he heavily copied Vainonen here...gotta check my DVD's).

#20 tchaikovskyfan

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 10:52 AM

Well...I tried to use those BT's would be more familiar with, so they could visualize the individual sections easier...

Don't worry. The ones I have in my head are only for a couple of numbers (the beginning of act 2, Arabian dance and Waltz of the Flowers and I remember them like it was yesterday (and this version was performed in Columbus choreographed by David Nixon back in 1995)

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:18 AM

Another quick addition. There's a lovely detail from Alonso's Nutcracker that I had forgotten to mention. Her Act I doll's scene is an interesting one. Wanting to pay some homage to Fokine, she reintroduces the three characters from Petrushka...Petrushka himself, the doll and the blackmoor, along with the original costume designs...
Nice touch... :thumbsup:

#22 Lidewij

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:50 PM

My favourite version is the Vainonen, the only thing that really bothers me is that (at least in the Mariinsky's version) part of the music of the Sugar Plum Fairy is left out!

#23 bart

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:21 PM

Cristian, I hate to say this, but it sounds as if your "ideal Nutcracker" is all additions, no deletions. This could be one very long evening. Or is that the point. :wink:

I'm sorry for Balanchine, represented only by Arabian.

And what about the kiddies?

#24 Mel Johnson

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:51 PM

I find Balanchine's Act I infinitely preferable to anything else out there. I'm just sorry that the Sergeyev Notations are so vague on what the Battle looked like in the original. Some piano reductions have, however, preserved some of Drigo's penciled marginalia, like, "Mouse picks up (cookie) soldier. Turns him upside-down. Eats him." This gruesome effect brought to you by courtesy of a pocket in the lifting mouse's costume with its open end just below the head. Mouse picks up little boy, turns him bottoms-up, stuffs him down the pocket. "Okay, kid, here we go!!!"

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 04:06 PM

Cristian, I hate to say this, but it sounds as if your "ideal Nutcracker" is all additions, no deletions. This could be one very long evening. Or is that the point. :wink:


Definitely!

I'm sorry for Balanchine, represented only by Arabian.



...and the Candy Canes/Russian dance...!! :thumbsup: (And this is thanks to Mel, whose transcription of the original libretto really did it for me.Until that moment I had much prefered Alonso after Nijinska's Three Ivans/Trepak... :wink: , but I'm a huge fan of libretto's accuracy, so... :thumbsup:

Edited to add: And just by accident I discovered this old thread in which rg posted various great-(as usual)-scans of some of the sketches for the original costumes, one of them that of the candy cane, with hoop and everything...! :wub:

http://ballettalk.in...post__p__219649

And what about the kiddies?


Behaving as they should while enjoying a night at the ballet with their parents...right in the audience .

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:33 AM



I looked at the pics on the Ballet in Cinema site, and the Bolshoi Nutcracker looks totally different from the Nutcrackers in the U.S. or at the Royal Ballet in London!


But let's be carefull. This could be Gigorovitch's infamous production with all that bizarre candelabra business during the Grand Pas de deux and the praying-like poses. If so, I won't even try to see it.


It is what you mention after going back and looking! No wonder it looks so different (photos) than the traditional Nutcrackers I have seen. It lists different characters also like he-devils and she-devils or Chinese dolls, etc. Is the dancing totally different from regular Nutcrackers also, or is it just the production that is odd?



Bart...it s an odd production. To start with, it is an entirely different ballet done to Tchaikovsky's score. You don't have a series of diverstissements offered to Clara and the Nutcracker by the Sugar Plum Fairy. You won't have a Grand Pas de deux danced by the anfitrions themselves, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince Coqueluche, to honor their guests at their best. instead, you have a dancing display-(during the second act)-done by the female character, here an adult renamed Masha, who's the one doing the thing with a red dressed danseur, who's supposed, I think, to be the Nutcracker. Yes...there is a battle with evil forces if I can remember well, and other strange touches. I own a DVD with the late great Mme. Maximova and Vasiliev on this, and saw it only once.
And then, there's the darn candelabri...

#27 Natalia

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:53 AM

Oh, the candelabri!!! This is my least favorite production among all Nuts (well, except for Mark Morris very different version, which is not ballet).

Neither the Grigorovich nor the 1930s Vasily Vainonen version (the long-time strandard at the Kirov-Mariinsky) employs real children when the 'adult' troupes dance these versions (although I've seen the 'flutes pas de trois' danced by children). Child characters are normally danced by petite adults. It's in the Soviet tradition, even though, in tsarist times, children danced the child roles...which is what Balanchine remembered and brought with him to America.

For people weaned on versions that include children, the 'Soviet' Vainonen and Grigorovich versions can seem cold and flat.

Nowadays, whenever the Vainonen version is performed at the Mariinsky, it's done by the Vaganova Academy. The ca-1990 tape/DVD of the Kirov, starring Lezhnina as Masha, preserves what the Vainonen version was intended to be -- mainly danced by adults (but with children in the Flutes pas de trois). Even with the minimal use of children, I prefer the Kirov-Vainonen to the Bolshoi-Grigorovich. At least the Kirov-Vainonen is pretty & light, not dark!

#28 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:19 AM

Even with the minimal use of children, I prefer the Kirov-Vainonen to the Bolshoi-Grigorovich. At least the Kirov-Vainonen is pretty & light, not dark!

I like the cotton candy look alike pink wigs in Vainonen's, Natasha..!

Oh, the candelabri!!!


Yes, those darn candelabri...! Posted Image

#29 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:36 PM

MacAuley has something to say about this topic, in today's New York Times. Here is the link and here is a quote from the beginning of the article:

Last year, as I toured the United States in a “Nutcracker” marathon, I observed how more than 12 American productions featured the Sugar Plum pas de deux that Lev Ivanov choreographed for the 1892 original in St. Petersburg. But in only one case was the pas de deux — whose adagio, early on, features a beautifully spectacular phrase unlike anything else in 19th-century ballet, with the ballerina seeming to peel herself open in her partner’s arms — actually credited to Ivanov.



#30 Birdsall

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 12:40 PM




I looked at the pics on the Ballet in Cinema site, and the Bolshoi Nutcracker looks totally different from the Nutcrackers in the U.S. or at the Royal Ballet in London!


But let's be carefull. This could be Gigorovitch's infamous production with all that bizarre candelabra business during the Grand Pas de deux and the praying-like poses. If so, I won't even try to see it.


It is what you mention after going back and looking! No wonder it looks so different (photos) than the traditional Nutcrackers I have seen. It lists different characters also like he-devils and she-devils or Chinese dolls, etc. Is the dancing totally different from regular Nutcrackers also, or is it just the production that is odd?



Bart...it s an odd production. I own a DVD with the late great Mme. Maximova and Vasiliev on this, and saw it only once.
And then, there's the darn candelabri...



I'm glad you warned me. I was disappointed I couldn't see the Bolshoi's live Nutcracker, but now I am okay with it and happy the NYCB will present their Nutcracker live.

So is the Mariinsky Vainonen dvd a good one to purchase? I have heard the brand new Mariinsky version is a horrible production. What about the dancing?


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