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REVIEWS: Nutcracker at BAM

71 posts in this topic

An unfortunate click just lost my review... so maddening.

I adored the production... so much to like... so many fresh ideas that even after seeing so many many many Nutcracker productions at Ratmansky's I felt like a 3 year seeing Nutcracker for the first time! His choreography is so unabashedly illuminated by the music that it's as if each amplified the other.

I loved the snow scene, the bees, the children (never over used)... Drosselmeyer's entrance where he holds the two girls was perfect, not freaky (and the two 12 year olds next to me agreed vehemently), as was his appearence at the end through the window (perhaps my favorite moment, actually).

Will write more when home from the blizzard... there was a lot to love in this refreshing Nutcracker. Some misses to be sure, but so many many riches!

Kitchen scene goes down as one of Ballet's treasures, not to be missed even by the most Nutcracker jaded.

Simkin resembled an olympic high diver as he composed himself the moment before launching into his variation.

Adored Ratmansky's 21st century use of the pirouette in the Sugarplum choreography, excuse me... grown up Clara choreography... never a preparation in evidence, lovely off center finishes that delighted and caught us off guard despite perhaps millions of pirouettes seen over the years..

Bees were our favorites... bringing out a side to the Waltz of the Flowers music I'd never head before... reminded me of that soft tenor singing so popular in early 20th century music... of the sort Eddie Cantor used in "Aint She Sweet"...

Didn't mind the engagement ring, absolutely hated the veil.

Wished there were more pure dancing choreography in the divertisements, though the pas de deux was gorgeous and the Mirlitons were charming. There were some partnering moments that were treasures... exquisite.

Loved the girls peeking through the gate.

Disliked the second mechanical doll pair.. not the dancers but the choreography... the first pair was so clever but the second sort of missed.. and then there was no tin solder foreshadowing for the battle.

Spanish skirts rustling was oddly distracting... normally I love the rustle of a skirt, but it didn't work musically in a production that was uncommonly musical.

Clara & the Nutcracker Prince (children) were better and better used than in most productions... very well coached in their acting skills. I wasn't crazy about the tug of war over the porcelain doll as children must have had to be very very careful with those toys... but I guess a child in the audience today would have a hard time understanding that.

What's with the italian changement motif?

Did not find anything offensive with the adults in the party scene.. they didn't seem like lushes rather that after having embibed a little spirt they were now ready to commence dancing... it was wonderful not in any way grotesque. And their dinner party while Clara had her moment alone with Nutcracker rang very true.. more genius at work.

Thought the "March" assualt on the toys was a clever idea but am squarely in the "spoiled children was a bad idea" camp... couldn't they have been mischeivously misbehaving instead?

Felt the children were a little too orderly with not enough flustered chaos as they harried Drosselmeyer, but think that will improve over time. Also thought at times they were overdancing too simplistic choreography... but every time I was distracted by that thought, a little stage magic would slip in and surprise me! Sometimes they looked a little uncomfortable with their head waggling so that it was difficult to be musical, but all in all I thought the kids were used very well here.

Charmed by what seemed to my mind 18th century drilling references in the battle scene. Everyone is right about the forced perspective of the chair... it's super effective! and loved the battle happening under the tree. Was surprised to see that the tree had grown just before it was pulled offstage. Tree was not a disappointing as I had feared from earlier descriptions, but it doesn't dominate the moment as in other productions. Tree was at least easy on the eyes.

Snow scene was much fun! So fresh. So much more about snow.

Wasn't sure if something had been intended but not realized with the doll house in the party scene... was there going to be a puppet show?

Juxtaposition of grown-up & child pas de deux was charming... loved seeing how much more a ballerina does with a simple gesture even though the children were perfect.

Missed tin soldier play references in the party scene that usually help the later battle resonate...

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Alistair M's review saw the bees in the Waltz of Flowers as being somewhat silly. I actually thought the bees' being on the stage coincided well with the swells in the music, and the bees' role was actually to show the sunniness and the lushness of the ballerinas representing the flowers to be expressed. Interestingly, the four danseurs playing the bees (see the Hallberg/Murphy cast in an earlier post) were not of generally comparable height. The danseurs were chosen more for their skills, I suspect, than for uniformity of general appearance. Tamm danced well, among the bees. What the NYT slideshow photos of the bees didn't show is that they have two long antennae (spelling) on their heads that would vibrate very effectively when the danseurs were moving. The huge goggles over the bees' eyes enhanced the appearance of the bees.

A couple of other observations:

-- The Kingdom of the Sweets opens with an interesting visual effect. There are scenery grills constituting a decorative metallic gate that initially extends the entire length of the stage and is between the audience and the dancers (initially in the shadows). That gate also constitutes the background of the same scene. When the scene starts, the different performers in the Kingdom of the Sweets are almost like in a huge enclosed cage, from the audience's perspective. The ballerinas from the Waltz of the Flowers then all approach the "gate" separating them from the audience and look out.

-- The four life-size dolls presented by Drosselmeyer at the party have small roles in the scene where the Mice are running amok just before their battle with the Nutcracker. They are chased by the mice and hide beneath the tree. Later, some of the dolls participate in the fight against the Mice. The first set of dolls, in very dramatic-looking black and white outfits, danced well.

-- I had mixed feelings about some of the portrayals of the national dances. for instance, I appreciate that the Chinese dance has a tradition in Nutcracker performances, but the dancers portraying the Chinese had costumes and a look, and danced in a way, that is based more on the traditional sense of Chinese and Chinese dance. same for the Spanish dance. I wondered whether Ratmansky could have updated some of the national dances. Over the last two years, there has been an article in one of the dance magazines talking about whether classical ballet perceptions of nationality are or are not updated in some performances, and asking whether some stereotypes based on nationality should be addressed more sensitively.

-- There is one intermission. The drinks selection leaves a lot to be desired. There is red and white wine, but no Champagne or other sparkling wine. During the premiere evening, lighting effects had large white snowflakes being beamed onto the white walls of the entryway to BAM.

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Some areas of the Nutcracker that could be looked at, for potential improvement:

-- As noted in my first post on this ballet, the kitschy wedding scene should be reconsidered.

-- As mentioned by other members, one does not see the Christmas tree grow, which is fine. However, the "large" tree is represented by just large sections of tree that the audience is supposed to assume are the bottom portion of a much larger tree. Given the US tradition associating the Nutcracker with Christmas, greater attention should be paid to this portion of the scenery. Overall, the scenery and costume design was excellent, but this was one exception.

-- On a more substantive note, the dance in the Kingdom of the Sweets by the Nutcracker's sisters does not seem to flow with the rest of the performances in the Kingdom. It is not a national dance, and has no echoing of, or any other identifiable relationship with, any other part of the ballet. I suppose its role could have been to showcase soloist ballerinas and aspiring soloist corps members. However, it needs to be integrated with the rest of the ballet much more. Second, the reference to the Nutcracker's sisters on the program should be considered. The Nutcracker boy has no interaction with these women. Third, the light green costumes, with matching light green top hats, should be revised. They don't make sense in the ballet. Fourth, the dance steps have no apparent meaning and should be significantly revised.

-- While one gets the impression that the SPF is the leader of the Kingdom of the Sweets, she is often accompanied, particularly in the beginning of Act II, by a middle-aged man with a long beard and a costume that is Middle-Eastern in inspiration. This is the "Majordomo" character. I don't see the need for this male danseur accompanying the SPF.

-- The S Radetsky (Arabian) portion of the Kingdom of the Sweets should be considered for reworking. Even though the piece involves the four ballerinas walking off on their own in the end, apparently, relinquishing (at least temporarily) their interest in the danseur, early portions of the piece show the four women literally swooning and falling head over heels for the danseur and the danseur not giving them a lot of respect. In today's world, Ratmansky should take the opportunity to present a Nutcracker, particularly when viewed by young girls in the audience, that does better than what was portrayed. I appreciate gender stereotypes are not uncommon in ballet, but that does not mean that Ratmansky has to highlight this one.

-- See my discussion above re: certain potential national stereotypes for the national dances.

-- A short dance by the Grandmother and Grandfather characters during the party scene seemed amusing to the audience, and is parodied quickly by one of the maids as they call it an evening before Clara descends the stairs. While the short dance seemed to attract some audience laughs, I thought it was an overly easy way to do so and the time required for the short dance should be considered for other things.

I wouldn't suggest any adjustment to the choreography involving the "grown up" Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. It was very special, and beautifully danced by Hallberg and Murphy. :flowers:

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Though I didn’t dislike ABT’s new Nutcracker on the first date, I wasn’t sure whether I could enjoy it again when I already knew a little mouse would come out of Mother Ginger’s skirt, which was the decisive moment when I got to have favorable impression toward this production. And, when I had the chance to listen to the Nutcracker music (conducted by Sir Simon Rattle) after the first performance, I didn’t think Alexei Ratmansky’s choreography is well connected with the music. So, I wasn’t much excited with going to the BAM again, especially through the blizzard. However, happily, the second seeing was enjoyable, equally or more.

A girl’s strongest Christmas wish is to meet and marry her prince. – This seems to be the main theme Ratmansky had on his mind making this new production. If so, it becomes more understandable why so many scenes in the second act involve a man-woman relationship related story. It’s no wonder Clara explores her greatest curiosity in her dream. Even the illustration on the screen, a white house in the navy and purple background, seemed to indicate the destination of Clara’s journey, where Grand PdD takes place and the Nutcracker Prince proposes to Clara.

At first, I doubted it, and didn’t like it. Don’t children’s wishes end in the Land of Sweets, not in front of the altar, just like Clara and Fritz came into the kitchen to have some sweets? Then, I was reminded Mr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum also came to the kitchen, ate something, and kissed a bit fervently. The classical Grand PdD went playful in the end, which Alastair Macaulay wrote “Mr. Ratmansky…shows us how those adults still feel like the children they were”. Children, in the same way, have keen interest in adult things, especially in love between man and woman, while people usually think and want they are interested only in some childlike things like sweets and toys. Maybe, both adult and child have the desire to be and act like the other (or, in terms of desire, they are not different), and some of such wishes may come true on Christmas, because it’s Christmas.

Before Act I – Staring at the screen for quite a few minutes, listening to the, though fabulous, Tchaikovsky music is the last thing I want to repeat. When music starts in a ballet theater, a natural desire to “see” the music surges within me, and I cannot but plead, “let me see it quickly, please”. I wonder how Ratmansky can keep silent for not a short time, while he sometimes seems to be obsessed with storytelling. I took that silence as homage to this great composer and also a little apology to him for Ratmansky’s being talkative continuously even when unnecessary (He seems to have to continue his storytelling because he wants “all-new” Nutcracker).

Act I – I enjoyed it better than the first night, partly because I became more used to it, forgetting the traditional versions more.

Party scene – On the first night, it was like hearing somebody talking a boring story too fast. Yesterday, it seemed better, though I can’t pick up what made the difference (maybe, it can be myself who changed). Roman Zhurbin did well in the role of Grandfather.

Battle scene – I like Ratmansky’s effective and ingenuous use of the Little Mouse throughout the performance, but, I can’t like the long, pale-pink tails of the mice, especially seven tails of the Mouse King. So, the battle scene or any scene full of mice was a little bit too scary to me, though that’s exactly what Ratmansky intended.

Snow scene – Even the Snow Storm scene looked better yesterday, maybe because I experienced it on the way to the BAM. When I see the snow storm scene, I feel like Ratmansky is shouting “I’m from Russia”. However, if I were to have 2.5 million (and more) and make a new Nutcracker production, I would like to make it more like “A dog of Flanders”, taking the deathly coldness, excluding some of the fast and busy movements, because I felt from the music certain “joy and ecstasy (from something transcendingly beautiful)” and “peace (finally found in death)” in addition to some sadness.

Act II

Sugar Plum Fairy – It was interesting the nanny who watches over Clara (and forbids her to take too much sweets) in real world becomes the Sugar Plum Fairy in Clara’s dream, introducing to her the Kingdom of Sweets. I thought Ratmansky captured Clara’s mind well (“Oh, Nanny, she is the very gatekeeper to the sweets”).

After the first night, a very minor change was made about the timing when Clara wears her slipper again which she threw during the Nutcracker boy’s mime. On the first night, she was busy wearing it again at the center of the stage before she and the Nutcracker boy were escorted to the side. Yesterday, she put on the shoes while she was sitting at the side of the stage, which of course seemed more appropriate.

National Dance – Like others, I hope Ratmansky to rethink about Russian dance. Currently, it seems like a put-together of mimes and steps which were omitted from Fancy Free because they were too silly or least amusing. I also want Chinese dance to be a more virtuoso one, like Bronze Idol or Blue Bird.

Waltz of Flowers – At first, I didn’t like the bees. When the bees are on stage, I feel a little left out, unlike the traditional one where no bees are involved and so many flowers beautifully smile toward the audience. Seeing it second time, though I still don’t like it, I admit the bees are necessary at least in terms of color balance. Without bees in black (and with bright yellow mask), the stage full of frilly hot pink costumes would seem (to me) a bit distracting. And, last night, the audience who I guess consisted of more of only-once-a-year balletgoers than the first night gave a much longer applause to the flowers scene.

Grand PdD – I think it is the very important moment in Ratmansky’s Nutcracker, which can determine the overall impression and opinion about the production. Also, it may depend upon each audience’s familiarity with the various existing versions and personal taste how much it should be traditional or festive or wild. In my case, I would rather choose a bit traditional approach because having through Ratmansky’s bright and brisk Nutcracker until the Grand PdD, I came to wish some rest, enjoying a bit more quiet, peaceful, elegant dancing which I expect a ballet to provide. It’s like hearing “Silent Night” song after many more cheerful carols. What’s been and is difficult for Ratmansky as well as performers will be still making the production look new, and not losing the consistency with the rest part of the work.

I am not in the position to comment on the choreography of the Grand PdD, and the only thing I can say is that when I saw the Grigorovich lift in the PdD, I took it as another statement of Ratmansky, “I’m from Bolshoi”.

Marcelo Gomes returned to his fine form yesterday. On the first night, he looked tired, needed one or two seconds of preparation time before he began turns or jumps, and panted so heavily when he was standing at the left side of the stage during the epilogue. All I saw for the first time, though I’ve seen him only for one spring season this year. Last night, he regained the lightness and cleanness of his usual self. I could see his arm stretched lightly to the above, and moving in the air a bit softly like a flower stem, and finally a flower (maybe, a cute lily-of-the-valley) blooming at the end of his arm. He had a warm and pleasant smile on his face, such bliss which can be found in Renoir’s paintings. However, I'm still curious to see other castings to know what those “Bournonville-like petit allegro steps” were meant to be exactly, and how they can be executed differently.

According to the playbill, Ratmansky said “The choreography for our version is all-new”, and I did agree he embroidered his signature in every scene of this production, though I think some changes were made for the sake of “all-new” slogan, and personally I prefer a “half and half” version, unless I can afford two Nutcrackers a year. And, though it’s a charming idea to look into Clara’s mind, seeing her as an individual, not a mere child, I felt a little sorry for him to confine a Christmas spirit to a love of man-woman relationship (eros), while I think his new Nutcracker could extend the traditional “love within family” to “love for others/neighbors (agape)” which may sound boring and too educative, but with his talent (and with unusual generous support from the sponsors), he might have made a “still fascinating but more true to the genuine Christmas spirit” story.

One thing I thought a little strange was the statement of ABT in the playbill, expressing its grateful acknowledgement for the financial contributions made by its dancers, stage managers and its staff to help support ABT. I wonder whether it is really common, or ABT is in its financial difficulties (thought it may not be a good time for any ballet company in the world).

Edited by Kyeong

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especially seven tails of the Mouse King.

One of the 12 year olds that accompanied me explained that this is what a Rat King is... 7 rats entangled by their tails and asked if I hadn't noticed the 7 tails... apparently she read about it in some book (which had nothing to do on the surface with Nutcracker). I'm now going hunting for more info on the internet...

and here is the unsavory entry on Wikipedia explaining it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_king_(folklore)

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I was absolutely enthralled by this Nutcracker. Saw it tonight (Dec. 28) with Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg - a dream couple - and they were perfection. I sat in seat A1 in the orchestra which is actually the third row. It's an excellent seat, but you do have heads in front of you as row A is on the same level as row AA and BB - I would rather sit on the aisle a few rows back so as to have elevation and a better view of the stage. But quibbles aside, I saw the dancing close up and the expressions - there was so much to see, to absorb!

Ratmansky's Nutcracker is very busy with story-telling especially in the first half. But he's quite amazing really, he keeps everything moving, with all sorts of surprises and a wacky humor at times. Ratmansky will never echo Balanchine's "Don't act, dear, just dance" - his dancers certainly do act, they are very expressive and effectively so. Their expressions add to the story line of the ballet as they emit surprise, annoyance, or even sheer delight. And delight is telegraphed to the audience in many of the ensemble dances. Especially effective were the Nutcracker's Sisters (usually called Marzipan Shepherdesses), the flowers, and the darling Polichinelles in a dance full of wit and humor. The children looked absolutely delighted!

The snowflakes were a surprise, in that they were actually a wicked bunch of sisters. They were chilling, and I would have expected them to carry icicles in their hands (they did not but should have). They were very like the Wilis, a malevolent sisterhood. They even crossed their hands in front Wili-style at one point, a sure clue of their origins in Giselle. The first half of the ballet was quite dark, but the second half was all lightness and cheer.

The flowers were charming. I liked the four male bees, but I can't help thinking that if Balanchine had choreographed their sequence, he would have interspersed them more effectively among the flowers - Balanchine was a master at utilizing limited numbers of men partnering many more women(see Divertimento No. 15, Serenade, Stars and Stripes for example). Ratmansky's bees danced far too independently - aren't bees supposed to sniff the flowers and flutter from one to another?

I loved the Arabian dance where the four harem girls compete for one danseur - it gave the ladies a chance to turn the tables!

The centerpiece of the ballet was Murphy/Hallberg, who were sublime. At one climax of the choreography, she seemed close to tears. And Hallberg has a way of concentrating, his eyes round, as if he is willing himself to conquer this moment. They are both brilliant! And they have a modesty in their bearing, a genuine humility as they acknowledged the tributes of the audience. I realized as I watched Gillian Murphy from up close that she is not beautiful, but her dancing makes her so.

May I add that my evening was enhanced by some very special encounters. Allegra Kent sat in the very first row just ahead of me, and at intermission I asked if she would sign my program. Then to my amazement, I saw another principal of NYC Ballet, Wendy Whelan, in the back of the theater, and I asked for her autograph, too. That program's a keeper! Wendy looked small and slight, whereas on stage she appears so tall and commanding. She is gracious and lovely. Oddly enough, on the train home, she and her husband were riding the same subway car as I did, and I "accompanied" them all the way to the West Side of Manhattan, where I got off at Lincoln Center. Odd to see a Sugar Plum Fairy, Swan Queen, and Wheeldon muse riding the subway. Isn't that so New York?

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There were other NYCB principals as well - the Angle brothers and Maria K. A very interesting evening but it makes you realize what a master work Balanchine's Nutcracker is. It was unfortunately difficult to avoid comparison.

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Yes, Balanchine's is definitive for the 20th century. But we have Ratmansky for the 21st. Time marches on, Balanchine is eternal, but ABT needed a Nutcracker and Ratmansky has produced a splendid one. I felt the production was cramped on the small BAM stage, but that is what was available.

There were other NYCB principals as well - the Angle brothers and Maria K. A very interesting evening but it makes you realize what a master work Balanchine's Nutcracker is. It was unfortunately difficult to avoid comparison.

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Have read posts re less than stellar thoughts of Gomes/Part, but for my 'part' (no pun intended!), I think they are divine together. Also think that Marcelo just oozes charisma and has wonderful acting ability whereas to me, Hallburg is more straight-laced with a different type of stage presence.

Looking forward to seeing Cornejo/Reyes interpretation.

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I must also chime in to say Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg were fantastic last night in their roles as the Princess and Prince in ABT's The Nutcracker. The Act 1 transfiguration scene was mesmerizing - my favorite part. That is why Balanchine's version leaves me feeling a bit empty. The transfiguration scene is so dramatic and moving. Gillian and David received numerous well-deserved ovations. Alexei Ratmansky's new choreography was intriguing. A larger stage than at BAM's Gilman Opera House would do Alexei's work greater justice, as the stage gets quite crowded in Act 1's party scenes and in Act 2's Sugar Plum Palace scenes.

The music sounded a bit muffled. Probably because of the acoustics at the Gillman.

I really enjoyed this new version. Kudos, Alexei!

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The placement of the orchestra beneath the stage and almost beneath the audience is probably responsible for any muffling of sound. I could hear well but I was in the third row from the front. The orchestra is really in a sublevel and you can't even see the conductor when he takes his second act bow.

I must also chime in to say Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg were fantastic last night in their roles as the Princess and Prince in ABT's The Nutcracker. The Act 1 transfiguration scene was mesmerizing - my favorite part. That is why Balanchine's version leaves me feeling a bit empty. The transfiguration scene is so dramatic and moving. Gillian and David received numerous well-deserved ovations. Alexei Ratmansky's new choreography was intriguing. A larger stage than at BAM's Gilman Opera House would do Alexei's work greater justice, as the stage gets quite crowded in Act 1's party scenes and in Act 2's Sugar Plum Palace scenes.

The music sounded a bit muffled. Probably because of the acoustics at the Gillman.

I really enjoyed this new version. Kudos, Alexei!

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I found myself wondering if BAM was the out of town try out for Kennedy Center...

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I will also chime in to say that the Tuesday evening performance was simply enchanting. I thought I was all "nutcrackered-out" but now find I can't wait to see this new ABT version again! Must add special kudos to a few corps members - Roman Zhurbin and Marian Butler as Grandmother and Grandfather were charming and hilarious and then steadfastly moved on to parts in the Chinese and Russian dances - bravo to them!! I was also very impressed by Roddy Doble as both Mr. Stahlbaum and as the male dancer in the Arabian dance. Someone upthread mentioned that Ratmansky's Arabian dance had similar qualities to the purple Rothbart solo from Swan Lake. I agree and in fact could definitely see Mr. Doble in that role. He was also very impressive in the recent Innovation Initiative evening and I hope Mr. McKenzie will begin to use him in more prominent soloist roles. My only minor complaint (ok, yes I also wouldn't mind losing the wedding veil) was the Spanish dance costumes. I thought the black marcel-waved wigs and voluminous skirts overwhelmed tiny Maria Riccetto, Jennifer Whalen and Misty Copeland. A little less material would improve the look a lot.

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More comments: I spotted Allegra Kent too sitting several rows ahead of me and using a festive red velvet cane. I was practically giddy seeing her! Also spotted Robert LaFosse and Gary Chryst. I was sitting in orch row E and now that I see how small the BAM opera house is, I think this is too close. Made for lots of head-swiveling to see the whole picture and the tall woman in front of me obscured a bit of my line of vision. Otherwise it seemed a lovely venue and easy to get to by subway from Manhattan; not withstanding the slushy streets and delayed service.

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Any word on how the Kajiya/Hammoudi, Herrera/Stearns, Riccetto/Simkin and Reyes/Cornejo pairings did in the big pas de deux? I would like to hear about the men in particular.

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I saw Paloma and Cory last night. They were not nearly as thrilling as Murphy and Hallberg. Their first act pdd looked very careful and labored. They both looked better in the grand pas in the second act. However, Cory's jumps are relatively low to the ground, and he doesn't have the beautiful line of David Hallberg. The first lift in the grand pas was shaky. The other lifts were smoother. I liked Paloma in this role, but she was not as thrilling as Murphy. There were acres of empty seats in the orchestra.

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From Robert Johnson's review:

Imagining Snow, Ratmansky thinks of gusting sleet rather than crystalline geometry. Fair enough. Yet by imposing a dramatic subtext—Clara and the Nutcracker Boy romp through the Snow scene and, bizarrely, nearly freeze to death — Ratmansky dodges his responsibility to pattern the divertissement. The whirling of the Snowflakes is repeatedly interrupted, as if the choreographer lacked the imagination to finish the job. Similarly, in Act Two, the antics of a quartet of Bees distract from Ratmansky’s uninspired “Flower” arrangements.

I totally agree that the decision to make the Snowflakes scary was one of the biggest misfires, as is the bees in the Waltz of the Flowers.

In this “Nutcracker” the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier do not dance the Grand Pas de Deux. Instead the duet features adult versions of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. Despite the efforts of two fine dancers, Hallberg and Gillian Murphy, this Grand Pas is the ballet’s nadir, not only stupefyingly bland and unmusical but again interrupted by nonsense. For some reason, Clara weeps.

Clara weeping in the middle of the pas de deux (big, sobbing tears) was also another weird moment in the ballet, especially since the rest of the pas de deux was so playful.

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The Ratmansky Nutcracker is filled with High Concept Ideas. However, the choreograpny is frequently at odds with the music. I have to agree about the Snowflake misfire. It wasn't so much that making them scary was a problem. For me, the real problem is that the music they are dancing to cries out for a whirlwind of expanisve dancing. Instead, the ladies are doing small jumps in place, and they are frequently stretched out on the floor.

Judging by the large numbers of empty seats in the orchestra and mez that I have seen in the online select your own tickets system, and have also observed at the theater, it would appear that ABT has grossly miscalculated its pricing structure. Wealthy suburban families are not flocking to Fort Greene. ABT must have spent a fortune on advertising, but it did not seem to matter.

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Judging by the large numbers of empty seats in the orchestra and mez that I have seen in the online select your own tickets system, and have also observed at the theater, it would appear that ABT has grossly miscalculated its pricing structure. Wealthy suburban families are not flocking to Fort Greene. ABT must have spent a fortune on advertising, but it did not seem to matter.

As someone who was recently priced out of Fort Greene, it isn't like the area is exactly the ghetto. I guess from what you say it isn't attracting wealthy people from Manhattan or the suburbs, although other factors such as the need to build an audience for something new, the fact that a good portion of the run is happening after Christmas (which I do think harms a ballet that people associate so strongly with the holiday) might also be at play here. But you have brownstones going for over 2 million a few blocks from BAM (and it was an area with no real price drop during the recession) and fantastic restaurants like No. 7 greene, so let's not extend the impression, if indeed it exists, that the area is poor.

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I think one reason might be the fact that cleanup after the huge snowstorm (over 2 ft of snow) has been unusually slow. Canceled/delayed subways and buses have made many people just want to stay home.

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Judging by the large numbers of empty seats in the orchestra and mez that I have seen in the online select your own tickets system, and have also observed at the theater, it would appear that ABT has grossly miscalculated its pricing structure. Wealthy suburban families are not flocking to Fort Greene. ABT must have spent a fortune on advertising, but it did not seem to matter.

As someone who was recently priced out of Fort Greene, it isn't like the area is exactly the ghetto. I guess from what you say it isn't attracting wealthy people from Manhattan or the suburbs, although other factors such as the need to build an audience for something new, the fact that a good portion of the run is happening after Christmas (which I do think harms a ballet that people associate so strongly with the holiday) might also be at play here. But you have brownstones going for over 2 million a few blocks from BAM (and it was an area with no real price drop during the recession) and fantastic restaurants like No. 7 greene, so let's not extend the impression, if indeed it exists, that the area is poor.

I have no problem with Fort Greene. I've been going to BAM for 15 years. However, I think there are many people who still have preconceived negative notions about the neighborhood which may no longer be applicable. Seemingly all of Brooklyn has undergone "gentrification". Also, if you're a family looking for a day of fun, the logistics of going from BAM to Manhattan to view the X-Mas tree, the Macy's windows, FAO toy store or other Manhattan attractions may not be terribly appealing.

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