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REVIEWS: Nutcracker at BAM


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70 replies to this topic

#61 Waelsung

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:23 PM

My problem with this production is not that it breaks with tradition or compares unfavorably to the NYCB, but that it's unmusical, unoriginal, and choreographically boring.

It would take a miracle cast to make me go see it again.

#62 Amy Reusch

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 07:05 PM

Regarding the production's "legs", I kept wondering if BAM weren't serving as a sort of out of town tryout for Kennedy Center.

#63 Eileen

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 07:48 PM

These are very thoughtful comments about the drawbacks of the Ratmansky production. Although I was enchanted by it, there are some jarring elements. True, the big choreographic set pieces, Snowflakes and Flowers, are not fully realized. I think the small stage at BAM is a major problem which Ratmansky has "solved" by using dramatic/comedic ideas like Clara and the Nutcracker Prince dancing among the snowflakes and the bumblebees among the flowers. But that doesn't solve the problem of the overall need for choreographic richness, pure dance values, in these waltzes. I will compare to Balanchine's choreography hopefully in a post on NYCB page tomorrow, I saw Balanchine's Nutcracker tonight. So the cramped stage is a problem. I also feel Ratmansky has chosen to use comedy and slapstick whereas Balanchine is all high seriousness, while Mr. B is appropriately playful. I'm not sure how audiences will take to that in the long run. There's a lot more that Ratmansky can do to improve the dance values when he gets a full size stage to work with. BAM is a second tier choice.

#64 mimsyb

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 09:08 PM


I was wondering about the effect the snow would have on attendance.


I missed the Sunday evening performance due to the blizzard. Since my tickets were in the orchestra, this was a considerable loss. Despite the massive snow storm and the 40 mph winds on Sunday evening, ABT has taken the Draconian position that there are no exchanges of any type. I have been a subscriber at BAM for a long time, and after a huge snowstorm they allowed all ticketholders to exchange their tickets into another performance. (BAM's website clearly indicates that the no exchange policy is ABT's policy, not BAM's policy.) At the MET Opera approximately 6 years ago, they allowed ticketholders to exchange into certain unpopular, undersold operas if they had to miss a performance because of a huge snowstorm that year. After a huge snowstorm in February 2010, the New York City ballet allowed ticketholders to mail in their tickets with a list of three dates for spring 2010 rep performances, and they permitted an exchange into one of the dates if available. In sum, ABT is the only organization which has acted, in my opinion, in a completely unreasonable manner on this issue. I think they will find that their customer service (or lack thereof) will hurt them in the long run. It's shortsighted. They could have easily permitted people who could not attend because of the blizzard to send in their tickets to ABT and provide a list of 3 dates for an exchange into a spring performance at the MET. Additionally, given the huge number of unsold seats at the Nutcracker, they could have allowed a standby line for ticketholders on other performance dates. Instead, they chose the most inflexible route. Of course, I know they have no obligation to provide assistance.


Yes, happened to me also. I had tickets for both the 26th and the 27th (Front Mezzanine), and was not able to get out to BAM because of the storm and it's aftermath. I think ABT should have re-thought their "no exchange" policy, given the severity of the storm and it's unusual circumstances. Everyone I spoke to at BAM was apologetic, but that they had been given strict orders not to exchange for "any reason". ABT needs to get in touch of the reality of certain circumstances and avail themselves of a P. R. Department that can think on it's feet. Perhaps Mr. Koch's millions could purchase such a commodity.

#65 Waelsung

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 09:36 PM

BAM is a second tier choice.


I completely agree, but my understanding is that ABT signed a 5 year agreement with BAM, so it looks like they are stuck there for at least four more seasons.

Will they be able to find another stage for their Nutcracker after the agreement expires, is a big question.

But an even bigger question is: will Ratmansky still be around in 2014?

#66 Amy Reusch

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 10:05 PM

One thing I just didn't get... when the Nutcracker prince does that weird looking upward with an arched back pose... any ideas what that was?

#67 sandik

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 12:38 AM

It would be interesting to hear what Balletalertniks think about the possible future life of this production and where it will fit in among all the others.


The Nutcracker is a particularly malleable ballet -- despite the fact that we have major chunks of the original choreography extant and available, it is continually being re-choreographed for professional and amateur groups. While most of those productions try to cleave to the main elements of the work, several of them have made significant departures from the 'received version.' One of those is the Mark Morris Hard Nut, which was at BAM earlier in December, and has been presented multiple years in Berkeley, where it is danced in a community with several other Nutcrackers.

#68 miliosr

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 04:58 AM

I just wonder if all this money could have been spent much better on something else.

Like the Tudor Romeo and Juliet? How long has it been now -- 33 years???

#69 bingham

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 06:38 AM

Regarding the production's "legs", I kept wondering if BAM weren't serving as a sort of out of town tryout for Kennedy Center.


And OCPAC.

#70 atm711

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 08:52 AM

Ratmansky did not disappoint.

The tone was set by the interaction between the family, friends and children which appeared to be spontaneous (although I am sure it was
carefully rehearsed.) They did not come across as stiff upper-class mannequins as is the case in some productions (including the more
popular one here in New York City.) I saw a warmth and joy in the family gathering which included the hyped anticipation of the children
waiting impatiently for the gifts and festivities, they did not act as little adults.

My one reservation is the one I have with all the Nutcrackers I have seen---the Grand PDD. I found Ratmansky's choreography uninteresting
with far too many lifts and deep swoons. He apparently saved the worst choreography for the two solo variations. He is too young to know
of the version by Alexandra Fedorova, a former Maryinsky dancer. Perhaps he should consult Frederick Franklin and gain some idea of the
beauty of that PDD.

#71 Katjia

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 07:45 AM


I was wondering about the effect the snow would have on attendance.


I missed the Sunday evening performance due to the blizzard. Since my tickets were in the orchestra, this was a considerable loss. Despite the massive snow storm and the 40 mph winds on Sunday evening, ABT has taken the Draconian position that there are no exchanges of any type. I have been a subscriber at BAM for a long time, and after a huge snowstorm they allowed all ticketholders to exchange their tickets into another performance. (BAM's website clearly indicates that the no exchange policy is ABT's policy, not BAM's policy.) At the MET Opera approximately 6 years ago, they allowed ticketholders to exchange into certain unpopular, undersold operas if they had to miss a performance because of a huge snowstorm that year. After a huge snowstorm in February 2010, the New York City ballet allowed ticketholders to mail in their tickets with a list of three dates for spring 2010 rep performances, and they permitted an exchange into one of the dates if available. In sum, ABT is the only organization which has acted, in my opinion, in a completely unreasonable manner on this issue. I think they will find that their customer service (or lack thereof) will hurt them in the long run. It's shortsighted. They could have easily permitted people who could not attend because of the blizzard to send in their tickets to ABT and provide a list of 3 dates for an exchange into a spring performance at the MET. Additionally, given the huge number of unsold seats at the Nutcracker, they could have allowed a standby line for ticketholders on other performance dates. Instead, they chose the most inflexible route. Of course, I know they have no obligation to provide assistance.



I wish to add my own to the message sent by abatt. I did not attend the performance of the nutcracker at the BAM on December 27 2010 due to the snow storm. I contacted ABT with the hope that the tickets may be either refunded or exchanged. I was told that a large number of people shared my situation and that I should write to ABT as this was a special circumstance, despite the policy of no refund, no exchange. I did so. In reply,I was given a choice of performances in the spring with the proviso that the 5 tickets be used for one performance. As the dates were not suitable to me, I asked for a rain check for December 2011, when the family traditionally gets together in NY for an extended holiday. Since then, I wrote to ABT again and I received 2 calls from a James Timm at the end of his office hours, around 5PM, and did not leave his call back number. I called the general number and was told that he was in charge of the Nutcracker tickets and to leave him a message. I did so on many occasions and he never returned my calls. I also send him email messages which are being rejected by the system. I do not know what the big problem is with ABT and the reason for the absolute absence of a patrons-theatre relations office, which I find absurd in the contest of a performing arts institution. If ABT is unable to consider my and many other similar cases, we the patrons should be informed unequivocably, transparently and without further delay. Judging from some of the comments below, it seems to me that seats remain empty, enough of them to be noticed at each and every performance. It seems to me that ABT prefers to retain the money spent by people on unused tickets as "donations" (one of the choices I was given for the unused tickets)rather than fill the seats. If this is the case, please tell me what the meaning of the theatre is. The unbending rigidity of corporate rules, the lack of consideration toward the public, which is the raison d'etre of a theatre, and the high cost of tickets are perhaps some of the reasons the performing arts have lost public support. Let us not always blame the cultural changes for once.


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