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Nutcracker NYCBNutcracker NYCB


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#1 lillydoll

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 11:57 AM

Any comments about the performances of this years NYCB Nutcracker. Can you really see any individuality from one year to the next?

#2 OneSwan

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:05 PM

Any comments about the performances of this years NYCB Nutcracker. Can you really see any individuality from one year to the next?


I saw the opening night performance (Friday 11/26) with Jenifer Ringer (Sugarplum), Jared Angle (Cavalier), and Ashley Bouder (Dewdrop).

It was interesting to watch Jenifer and Ashley in the same act because they're such very different dancers. Neither Jenifer or Jared has Ashley's whiz bang technique but I really enjoyed them in their roles. I thought Jenifer was a very tender and maternal Sugarplum, very lovely, and her partnering with Jared had a true warmth to it. I don't think Jenifer shines as much in solos but I love how she dances pas de deux and interacts with other dancers (even in minor scenes, as when listening to the Prince's pantomime or leading the little angels, she seemed dramatically present and engaged with the other dancers in a very rich way).

Last year I saw Ashley as Sugarplum for the first time and I like her much more as Dewdrop: I think the role is just better suited to her (in part because there's no pas de deux) and obviously it really showcases her remarkable turns.

Teresa Reichlen's Coffee was a highlight for me Friday night, as always, and I'm so glad she's continued to dance the role even after her promotion.

I was amused by how Sean Suozzi, after doing a very reined in and tentative Candy Cane, seemed to regain his confidence after his big solo was over, and treated the audience to a much more enthusiastic set of jumps at the very end of the ballet (when the sweets dancers are bidding Marie and the Prince goodbye).

Do I see any individuality from one year to the next? I do. Partly from seeing different dancers but I also find that I notice new aspects of the ballet each year...at least so far!

#3 melange

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 09:30 PM

I haven't really noticed any individuality from one year to the next - probably due to my own inattention - but, given that The Nutcracker is the only thing on the menu at NYCB in December, one has the chance to notice in lurid detail the differences among the performances from night to night. Not only can the same key dancers be spectacular on one night and ragged on another, but sometimes the whole performance can be either great, or seemingly star-crossed, as when the children lose their bearings if the conductor treats the music as a timed exercise, when snowflakes start falling, literally, or when there are scenery malfunctions. The sheer number of performances, however, does afford ample opportunity to see how different dancers treat each role.

Wednesday night was my first Nutcracker of the season and I was pleased overall. So was everyone else, apparently, as there were ample guffaws and spontaneous bursts of applause.

Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard were superb as the Sugarplum Fairy and her cavalier. She treated us to a fine demonstration of her adagio technique, using her sweeping long limbs to maximum effect. Her supported arabesque, pulled along on the sliding plate during the grand pas de deux was majestic: she stood tall, straight and utterly immobile. I think that when that move is performed correctly, with no wobbling, it underscores Balanchine's sheer genius as a choreographer. Kowroski and Askegard both wobbled a bit in the supported arabesque with Askegard on one knee near the end of the duet (I've noticed that this is frequently the case; would it be crass to ask an NYCB dancer if there is something peculiarly difficult about this?), but concluded with a smooth, graceful fish dive. They received a well-deserved tumultuous ovation. The grand pas did provide an unexpected risible flourish when Kowroski's tutu began unraveling in the back, giving her a long, thin tail, with a fuzzy bit on the end. It floated and danced, as if of its own free will, glistening brightly under the lights. When Kowroski rejoined Askegard after his short solo, her tail had been docked.

Tea was marvelous, with Daniel Ulbricht wowing everyone with his madcap high jumps and wide splits. Newly-minted corpswomen Lauren Lovette and Sarah Villwock positively sparkled as his sidekicks, No Darn Fun and Achoo.

Teresa Reichlen was wonderful as the Arabian dancer. Since she is my favorite ballerina, I'm inclined to take everything she does with a grain of sugar, so it's probably not objective of me to say that her extensions and overall slinkiness were fabulous. Reichlen usually dances with her face frozen in a toothy, but mirthless smile, so it was particularly captivating when, on the very last note, she ended with a kittenish grin. The audience was charmed. I don't know if her Coffee was enough to awaken every man in the theater, as my balletomanic elders and betters tell me Gloria Govrin's was, but it was enough to quiet the four French businessmen sitting in front of me, who otherwise ran their bouches for pretty much most of the performance.

The only disappointment for me was Megan Fairchild's performance as the Dewdrop. Although capable, her turns were slow and her numerous sautes de chat were rather lackluster. Other Dewdrops (Bouder, Hyltin, Mearns, to name a few) end very effectively by freezing dramatically on the last note - wonderful! But when the music stopped last night, Fairchild was still moving. Since the Dewdrop is all speedy entrances and exits and tight turns and jumps through the flowers, a certain explosive verve is required to make the role, and Fairchild quite simply did not have it. Sara Mearns did bring all that to one rendition of the Dewdrop I saw last November, and for this reason, despite her falling, her performance was was far, far more compelling than Fairchild's. I made this observation to the out-of-town friend who accompanied me last night and was told that I am a nitpicking, spoiled New Yorker who doesn't know how good he's got it. I've seen Fairchild dance a much better Dewdrop before and I know she was just having an off night, so I will go watch her dance the role again this season...for you see, all it takes for me to get to the Ed Koch Theater is a short ride on the IRT. How good have New Yorkers got it?

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 11:49 PM

Ed Koch Theater!

Would that it were :)

#5 abatt

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 06:22 AM

I made this observation to the out-of-town friend who accompanied me last night and was told that I am a nitpicking, spoiled New Yorker who doesn't know how good he's got it.



There's a difference between being a "nitpicker" and being a discerning, knowledgeable audience member.

#6 balanchinette

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 12:00 PM

Melange, thank you for your review, which I thoroughly enjoyed! I was also there on Weds night and agree with most of your observations. Maria K. and Charles A. are my favorite grand pas couple -- they make the tricky partnering look smooth and elegant, and I love how he throws her up and lets go for a split second before catching her for the fish at the end! And what a cavalier, in between supported turns he ripped that loose thread that was threatening to trip her up in half, so it was no longer a threat! :) I am going to see them again, I just love how they do that grand pas (even if Maria K is not as good at the solo in the beginning of Act 2, their grand pas more than makes up for it.)

The disappointment and distraction for me on Weds night (aside from kids in the audience who seem to get more badly behaved each year) was Snowflakes. Lara Tong dropped one of her snowball things (whatever they're called, that the corps dancers carry at the finale) and I was holding my breath hoping no-one was going to slip and fall over it, when yet another girl dropped one of her pom pom things at the very front of the stage, and there were 2 hazards waiting to trip the dancers! I missed most of the wonderful finale as a result. The Snow dancers on opening night were much better! I'm hoping there are no more prop or wardrobe malfunctions this season! :) A special shout-out to Henry Seth, who makes a wonderful Dr. Stuhlbaum.

#7 Slant

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 09:36 PM

Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz were wonderful in tonight's Dec. 4 performance of The Nutcracker. Their pas de deux in Act Two was simply magical! Elegance, grace, tenderness. Tiler's lines were beautiful and Joaquin's partnering was impeccable. Also enjoyed Allen Peiffer's Candy Cane. What a spark plug he is!

#8 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:16 PM

[font="Arial"][size="2"]

Ed Koch Theater!

Would that it were :)


Former Mayor Ed Koch just got a bridge! From today's NYT:

[/size][/font]

[font="Arial"][size="2"]The Bloomberg administration is set to announce plans on Wednesday to rename the Queensboro Bridge, the Midtown muse of Simon and Garfunkel and a steel signature of the city's skyline, after former Mayor Edward I. Koch, who turns 86 this month.[/size][/font] [font="Arial"][size="2"]

The 101-year-old bridge, which cantilevers over the East River from 59th Street in Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens, is not the only structure to be rechristened this week. State legislators voted on Tuesday to rename the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel after former Gov. Hugh L. Carey.[/size][/font][size="2"]

The creation of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge must be approved by the City Council; Speaker Christine C. Quinn said Tuesday that she supported it, adding that Mr. Koch "deserves way more than a street."[/size]


Way more than just a bridge, even. And it just so happens that there's a theater that already has his name on it. :wink:

#9 papeetepatrick

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:50 PM

http://en.wikipedia....Mayor_(musical)

Remember this? I didn't discover it until much later, as 1985 was a rough year, Charles Strouse no less. Never heard of anybody seeing it. Of course, he went on to TV glory in the 90s with that judge show, that was boring. This even had Helmsley and Bellamy and Bess Myerson and Sue Simmons characters in it...although Sue's natural hilarity outdid itself with her on-air f-bomb a few years ago. I encourage interested parties to google this, as it is one of the funniest things I have ever heard, as is her (totally bored) apology in which she said 'I used a word'.

But now I think Ed Koch has enough things named after him, thank you.

#10 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 01:35 PM

http://en.wikipedia....r_%28musical%29

Remember this? I didn't discover it until much later, as 1985 was a rough year, Charles Strouse no less. Never heard of anybody seeing it. Of course, he went on to TV glory in the 90s with that judge show, that was boring. This even had Helmsley and Bellamy and Bess Myerson and Sue Simmons characters in it...although Sue's natural hilarity outdid itself with her on-air f-bomb a few years ago. I encourage interested parties to google this, as it is one of the funniest things I have ever heard, as is her (totally bored) apology in which she said 'I used a word'.

But now I think Ed Koch has enough things named after him, thank you.


Lordy, how could I have forgotten about Mayor! Perhaps New York City Opera will mount a revival at Koch Theater...

#11 abatt

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 09:25 AM

The casting is up now on the NYCB website through Dec. 26. As in the past, lots of newbies are getting the lead roles toward the end of the run. New Sugarplums are Brittany Pollack and Rebecca Krohn. New Cavs. are Catazarro, Finlay and Christian Tworyzanski. New Dewdrop - Lauren King. Carmena is debuting as Cav. tonight.

#12 Krystin

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 09:28 AM

Also, Megan LeCrone is getting a Dewdrop! Very exciting stuff, hopefully people can report on their performances here for those of us not in NY...

#13 Slant

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 06:49 PM

Christian Tworyzanski as the Cavalier. That's interesting. I want to see more of Justin Peck in a principal role. Anyone else feel that way? Justin is one of the most "musical" of the corps dancers.

#14 E Johnson

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 06:30 AM

. I want to see more of Justin Peck in a principal role. Anyone else feel that way? Justin is one of the most "musical" of the corps dancers.


Absolutely. A year or so ago Peck danced the prince in Firebird and took my breath away. Not just the musicality but the depth of characterization and feeling.

#15 balanchinette

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 10:54 AM

I was at last Friday's performance and just wanted to note that Tess Reichlen's Dewdrop is the best I've ever seen -- she has great footwork, can hold balances forever, and has an incredible jump -- that series of jumps down the diagonal was breathtaking! And her height just makes the choreography even more beautiful. I really hope to see her in more roles next season -- she's one of NYCB's best. :)


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