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NYCB Goes to the Movies -- with Balanchine's Nutcracker

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I think the PBS broadcast will be a "live-on-tape" of the previous night's performance. According to the blurb above, the "Live from Lincoln Center" staff/crew is doing the cinema distribution (& taping?) so it doesn't make much sense to do the same thing twice. Instead, think of the PBS broadcast as a 'delayed broadcast' of the cinema version.

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Having Kelly Ripa host is an excellent idea. She can promote the broadcast on her daily show, and hopefully will have a few of the dancers on in advance of the broadcast to inspire people to come to the cinema.

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Who is Kelly Ripa? Jenifer Ringer should host the broadcast, she speaks beautifully, is lovely and refined, and most important, is a principal of New York City Ballet. I wish Jenny had been Sugar Plum as she is featured in the promotion video. Megan Fairchild just doesn't have the level of maturity that Sugar Plum needs to project beside the child dancers.

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To answer your question, it's to accommodate those who don't own televisions. Like me. At least that's how I'd like to interpret it! What would I do if it were only on PBS and I had to miss it entirely? There do exist people who limit their diet to sprouts and organic beans, others who run every morning at 5 a.m., and those whose personal idiosyncracy is to place a huge empty bookcase where ordinarily the huge TV screen would go. I am one of the last group, and my empty bookcase will hopefully fill up quickly with all the books I long to read - in between going to NYCB!

Jayne answered my question. That was what I was wondering. Not that it was shown in theaters but that they should have two live performances filmed. p.s. I do not own a giant TV.

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To answer your question, it's to accommodate those who don't own televisions. Like me. At least that's how I'd like to interpret it! What would I do if it were only on PBS and I had to miss it entirely? There do exist people who limit their diet to sprouts and organic beans, others who run every morning at 5 a.m., and those whose personal idiosyncracy is to place a huge empty bookcase where ordinarily the huge TV screen would go. I am one of the last group, and my empty bookcase will hopefully fill up quickly with all the books I long to read - in between going to NYCB!

Jayne answered my question. That was what I was wondering. Not that it was shown in theaters but that they should have two live performances filmed. p.s. I do not own a giant TV.

Yes, we were both responding to the original idea that the theater screening and the PBS telecast would be independent live events. This is clearly not to be the case. Congratulations on not owning a TV. Since you don't and are asking, Kelly Ripa is an extremely popular daytime television host--she was Regis Kelly's co-host until he retired last week--whose involvement in the broadcast will likely draw in additional viewers for both the PBS and theater showings.

Agree with Jayne--hopefully Ripa will have some rehearsal footage on the show in the lead up.

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I have the Holiday Spirit so will consider my purchase of two tix for the initial screening on the 13th a gift to art. Nonetheless, somebody please remind me next time to not purchase tix for any similar "live in cinemas" concocted by PBS in the future, as it looks like I'll be able to see the exact-same thing for free on my not-so-big TV in the comfort of my living room, wearing pjs and sipping a nice glass of wine.

I wonder if Kelly Ripa will also let viewers know that they can see the same thing for free in their own homes, on the 14th? As Barnum used to say, "There's a sucker born every minute" & some of us have been punked. Can't get too angry when it's the NYCB. I wish them well.

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I definitely feel duped. To me, "Live from Lincoln Center" means a LIVE performance, not "live-on-tape," whatever that means. PBS should add a disclaimer.

I bought HD tickets. I will have to leave work early, given the rush hour traffic, to make the 6pm curtain. To now know that I could save myself the trouble (and money!) by just watching the broadcast at home the following evening ...

I understand why NYCB didn't want to advertise that it was going to be the same performance, but it stills feels like bait and switch. It definitely does not improve my already poor impression of NYCB's administrative workings.

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Just learned that this is available at a local theater. (No publicity, of course.) So we'll be there.

I wonder how this will effect ticket sales of other Balanchine Nutcrackers -- live performances, I mean. I'm thinking of Miami's, but I know there are three or four other companies that also do the Balanchine version.

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I think the PBS broadcast will be a "live-on-tape" of the previous night's performance. According to the blurb above, the "Live from Lincoln Center" staff/crew is doing the cinema distribution (& taping?) so it doesn't make much sense to do the same thing twice. Instead, think of the PBS broadcast as a 'delayed broadcast' of the cinema version.

Maybe not? While I was waiting on eternal hold with a not very customer focused vendor, I played around with the "Buy Tickets" section of the NYCB website and was able to put seats for both the 12/13 6PM and 12/14 8PM performances in my cart -- that suggests two different live performances, no?

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I definitely feel duped. To me, "Live from Lincoln Center" means a LIVE performance, not "live-on-tape," whatever that means. PBS should add a disclaimer.

I think they do put a little note intheir broadcast--ie "small type" that it's not actually live. The Live from lincoln Center performances have not actually been live (to the best of my knowledge) in *any* market, no matter what the time zone for a very very long time, if ever. It usually means it's rom Lincoln Center (obvious I guess), was taped live (ie not a combo of several performances or fancy edits), and almost always something shown on Live, unlike something shown on PBS' Great Performances, can only be shown by an individual PBS twice, and can not be released to DVD due to actor/technician contracts. (Which is unfortunate--there have been many Live From Lincoln Centers in the past, things like the Broadway musical Light in the Piazza, that I foolishly did not record and can not be released).

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Not exactly on topic - but Adam Hendrickson will play Drosselmeyer in the Dec. 13/14 performance(s). I met his father by accident on the street and he was kind enough to introduce me to Adam, waiting outside the theater. Adam is charming and puckish - which is one of his roles. I told his father I had seen him as the Jester in Swan Lake, as Candy Cane in Nutcracker, but never as Drosselmeyer! Mr. Hendrickson also told me he is married to Rebecca Krohn, whom I also admire immensely. If you read my posts, I often write of dancer sightings - because I live just behind Lincoln Center and my regular route takes me either through the plaza or down 62nd Street. This was a very pleasurable encounter. Adam's father is very open and down to earth.

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There's an interesting article in the NyTimes about NYCB heading/or not heading into the digital age with their $9 million digital control room that is not being used mad.gif . http://www.nytimes.c...oes-unused.html (it won't be used for the Nutcracker broadcast either, PBS brings their own equipment)

I'm not sure I understand the rational behind this, considering the success others have had with broadcasting. It seems if there are union disputes that stem from the possibility of its usage, they should be the priority of management. If it means paying them more money for broadcast performances...give them the money! If the Met is clearing $11 million a year from broadcasts NYCB could easily pull in a portion of that if they approach it in the right manner (taking into consideration ballet may be less popular than opera). The idea of something that cost $9 million sitting there languishing makes me a bit nuts.

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How do Italy and France, with all of their theatrical unions, pull-off their films and telecasts? Are unions in the USA paid so much more than the Italians and the French, relatively speaking...making it prohibitive to record performances for public viewing? Good grief.

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Oh to be a fly on the wall for union contract negotiations. Look at how little the Players Association got out of the NBA negotiations, the players now have a curtailed season, with less pay, revenue sharing dropped from 57% to 50%, among other things. I wonder if the "higher ups" in the stageworker unions have outsized ideas of how much money they should make from broadcasts? NYCB has a big deficit to pay off, despite the extra money reaped from the McCartney ballet. I doubt they are willing to give up much $$$ to stage workers.

I wonder who handles the union negotiations, if they hire an outside professional negotiator(s)?

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in case this hasn't be said and/or clarified, the following statement comes from NYCB's offices:

<<

The broadcast to movie theaters on Dec. 13 will be a live broadcast of the Dec. 13 performance at the DHK Theater. The Live From Lincoln Center broadcast on PBS on Dec. 14 will be a live broadcast of the Dec. 14 performance at the DHK Theater. So, 2 performances, 2 separate live broadcasts (same casts both night).

>>

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in case this hasn't be said and/or clarified, the following statement comes from NYCB's offices:

.... So, 2 performances, 2 separate live broadcasts (same casts both night).

>>

Thanks, RG. That is very positive news. On the other hand, I'm still scratching my head at the choice to present the exact-same cast at both events. Is there only one 'Team A' at the NYCB, worthy of being shown to the masses?! Or would there be a monetary impact if two sets of dancers would be selected for telecasts/broadcasts?

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Maybe they are planning a DVD release down the road, and are using the same casts on both nights so that they have a backup version in case of any mishaps on stage or in the filming process.

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I'm trying to remember if any 'Live from Lincoln Center' ballet performance has ever been released commercially (VHS or DVD). There have been some 'Dance in America' ballets but rarely (if ever) a 'Live from Lincoln Center.'

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re: Live From Lincoln Center releases - one announced phase of Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary plans was the release of unnamed and unspecified programs. if mem. serves the implication was that the releases would start with operas, but i don't think this plan has be set in motion.

prior to this plan the only Live/Center ballet programs released commercially, but then discontinued, if mem. serves, were ABT's SWAN LAKE (w/ Makarova and Nagy) and GISELLE (w/ Makarova and Baryshnikov).

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That's right, RG. Thanks. Those are 'oldie goldies' that, I think, never were released on DVD. To capture the Dec 14th Nutcracker, our safest bet might be to use our DVD recorders on that one day.

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Thank you, rg, I was confused as well. I did just speak to somebody from Live from Lincoln Center. They did confirm two separate broadcasts. I hope to have a listing of PBS stations with dates and times that I can post or link to. I have a very large Excel sheet that I believe is too large to link. If you looked at your local station and did not see a showing (as I did, in my new town), fear not. Many stations are showing it later in the week - as late as the 20th. I was told this is the largest listing of distribution of Live from Lincoln Center in recent years.

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I received an email from PBS reminding me of the Wed Dec 14 Nutcracker broadcast on TV. That performance will be hosted by Chelsea Clinton.

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I received an email from PBS reminding me of the Wed Dec 14 Nutcracker broadcast on TV. That performance will be hosted by Chelsea Clinton.

Only one of the three PBS affiliates in the Washington, DC, area has opted to carry the 'Live from Lincoln Center' show on Dec 14...and not exactly live! Only Maryland Public Television (MPT) has the NYCB Nutcracker, commencing at 9pm EST (a one-hr delay, as the live show in NYC begins at 8pm). The show will clock-in at 1 hr and 58 minutes.

p.s. MPT yet again proves that it's the only dance-loving PBS station in the DC area: It alone is scheduled to show the San Fco Ballet's Little Mermaid this Friday; 9pm EST. Alert to folks hoping to tape it: the show will run 2 hrs & 26 minutes, so use proper recording mode/speed to not be disappointed, if you're not monitoring the taping.

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My review:

I saw the show at an excellent theater with surround sound, there were perhaps 30 people in the audience, the majority had grey hair, there were perhaps 5 tween age children, no young ones. Everyone was well behaved (no talkers during the performance!)

Kelly Ripa came on backstage with a clear appeal to children in her tone and presentation. It was a complete change from the sophistication of the MC of the Bolshoi broadcasts (can't recall her name at this hour). Claude Otranto led an able orchestra, though I quibbled with the woodwinds section, which seemed weak.

Onto the show: first impression was that the stage seemed claustrophobic, really small. Second impression was that the kids seemed really young, a lot of baby faces, but they certainly could dance. I admire Karinska for all of her work on this production. The costumes are a feast for the eyes, and a few show their 1950's influence (cotton balls dangling from skirts, the dew drop's straight-out-of-disney-tinkerbell-dress). The party itself was clearly aimed at the smaller children in the audience.

This was something I had to reconcile - other versions of Nut try to entertain both adults and children, but Balanchine went purely for the kids in 1954, and the first act party is all about them. The tree's growth, battle scene, and mice (rats?) were a lot of fun to watch. I really enjoyed the chaos of it all and everyone around me was also fully paying attention. I enjoyed the soldier's dance, and the columbine duo (both women, which surprised me), but the snow scene was the one pure technical ballet moment and it was pure Balanchine.

During snow, the neo-classical style really showed through - the port de bras, the lightning speed, and consequent lack of unison. In addition to (an already mentioned) dropped snowball branch, there was a slight bump in the 3rd row (stage back) between two dancers, but they quickly recovered. I enjoyed the scenery of the snow scene, and unlike other productions, it never dragged. But the Marie & Nephew characterizations began to get on my nerves, for the cloying cuteness. This too is clearly a 1950's leftover.

Kelly Ripa had more fun during the intermission, both in live interviews with Megan Fairchild (Sugar Plum), Daniel Ulbricht (Candy Cane), and the young Maria & Newphew (who were real sports). The best part, however, was Kelly's pre-taped session of ballet, going under the Mother Ginger skirt, and crowded by the young dancers, piping up with information.

Then we were on to Act II. And I nearly went into diabetic shock. I saw this production about 20 years ago, and have seen many others since, both in Seattle, San Francisco and other places. I forgot how super sweet and child oriented the 2nd Act really is. The scenery is a 1950's doily candy wrapper, literally. First of all, the two protagonists sit at a table weighed down by sweet treats. Many of the dancers are sweets related. All are sweet in their dancing. There is no shading, no story line, no danger, no interaction in the 2nd Act. It's just a divertissement festival. But only a few of the dancers get to show their chops.

Before I forget, I worried about Marie's crown falling off in hte 1st Act, and didn't understand why she wore a 1st communion veil in the 2nd Act? Can someone enlighten me?

Megan Fairchild was crystalline as Sugar Plum and it was a pleasure to watch her solo. During her ppd with Joachim, I noticed that her smile was through pursed lips - was she in pain? Joachim de Luz looked smiley and relaxed, he had a beautiful spin series that was well centered and controlled, but while Ms. Fairchild's dancing was technically excellent, her facial expression seemed wan.

Ashley Bouder was everything everyone says she is, and more as Dewdrop. A winning smile was icing on the cake. I could watch her solos over and over and never get bored. She made that role the principal for Nut rather than Sugar Plum - in other words, I thought she stole the whole show. Granted - Mr B gives this role the most technically to work with, but Ashley made it look 2nd nature. The Flowers just faded around her bright star.

Theresa Reichlen was bendy and sultry as Coffee, but I felt the bells and hair piece distracted from her performance.

Tyler Peck & Corps made Marzipan fun, and Karinska's tutus are a technical feat. But I didn't think the steps really showed Ms. Peck to her greatest advantage.

Daniel Ulbricht seemed to have fun with Candy Cane, it doesn't seem to be the hardest of roles, and the crowd loved his back up dancers. :)

I'm missing a few other performances, but by the end, I felt like I was craving something savory instead of sweet - more adult fare, or at least a storyline to follow. After all these years, what entertained me as a child, sends me into diabetic shock as an adult. I may need listen to a good honkey tonk show to bring my sugar levels down. Unfortunately I agree with NYT's Alastair Macauley's comment a year ago - Mr. B's Nutcracker is not one of his best works, or the best Nut out there. I'd like more dance content for the adult roles and more light and shade for the story line. But for that, I may have to one day venture out on my own Nutcracker marathon.

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My review:

I saw the show at an excellent theater with surround sound, there were perhaps 30 people in the audience, the majority had grey hair, there were perhaps 5 tween age children, no young ones. Everyone was well behaved (no talkers during the performance!)

Kelly Ripa came on backstage with a clear appeal to children in her tone and presentation. It was a complete change from the sophistication of the MC of the Bolshoi broadcasts (can't recall her name at this hour). Claude Otranto led an able orchestra, though I quibbled with the woodwinds section, which seemed weak.

Onto the show: first impression was that the stage seemed claustrophobic, really small. Second impression was that the kids seemed really young, a lot of baby faces, but they certainly could dance. I admire Karinska for all of her work on this production. The costumes are a feast for the eyes, and a few show their 1950's influence (cotton balls dangling from skirts, the dew drop's straight-out-of-disney-tinkerbell-dress). The party itself was clearly aimed at the smaller children in the audience.

This was something I had to reconcile - other versions of Nut try to entertain both adults and children, but Balanchine went purely for the kids in 1954, and the first act party is all about them. The tree's growth, battle scene, and mice (rats?) were a lot of fun to watch. I really enjoyed the chaos of it all and everyone around me was also fully paying attention. I enjoyed the soldier's dance, and the columbine duo (both women, which surprised me), but the snow scene was the one pure technical ballet moment and it was pure Balanchine.

During snow, the neo-classical style really showed through - the port de bras, the lightning speed, and consequent lack of unison. In addition to (an already mentioned) dropped snowball branch, there was a slight bump in the 3rd row (stage back) between two dancers, but they quickly recovered. I enjoyed the scenery of the snow scene, and unlike other productions, it never dragged. But the Marie & Nephew characterizations began to get on my nerves, for the cloying cuteness. This too is clearly a 1950's leftover.

Kelly Ripa had more fun during the intermission, both in live interviews with Megan Fairchild (Sugar Plum), Daniel Ulbricht (Candy Cane), and the young Maria & Newphew (who were real sports). The best part, however, was Kelly's pre-taped session of ballet, going under the Mother Ginger skirt, and crowded by the young dancers, piping up with information.

Then we were on to Act II. And I nearly went into diabetic shock. I saw this production about 20 years ago, and have seen many others since, both in Seattle, San Francisco and other places. I forgot how super sweet and child oriented the 2nd Act really is. The scenery is a 1950's doily candy wrapper, literally. First of all, the two protagonists sit at a table weighed down by sweet treats. Many of the dancers are sweets related. All are sweet in their dancing. There is no shading, no story line, no danger, no interaction in the 2nd Act. It's just a divertissement festival. But only a few of the dancers get to show their chops.

Before I forget, I worried about Marie's crown falling off in hte 1st Act, and didn't understand why she wore a 1st communion veil in the 2nd Act? Can someone enlighten me?

Megan Fairchild was crystalline as Sugar Plum and it was a pleasure to watch her solo. During her ppd with Joachim, I noticed that her smile was through pursed lips - was she in pain? Joachim de Luz looked smiley and relaxed, he had a beautiful spin series that was well centered and controlled, but while Ms. Fairchild's dancing was technically excellent, her facial expression seemed wan.

Ashley Bouder was everything everyone says she is, and more as Dewdrop. A winning smile was icing on the cake. I could watch her solos over and over and never get bored. She made that role the principal for Nut rather than Sugar Plum - in other words, I thought she stole the whole show. Granted - Mr B gives this role the most technically to work with, but Ashley made it look 2nd nature. The Flowers just faded around her bright star.

Theresa Reichlen was bendy and sultry as Coffee, but I felt the bells and hair piece distracted from her performance.

Tyler Peck & Corps made Marzipan fun, and Karinska's tutus are a technical feat. But I didn't think the steps really showed Ms. Peck to her greatest advantage.

Daniel Ulbricht seemed to have fun with Candy Cane, it doesn't seem to be the hardest of roles, and the crowd loved his back up dancers. smile.png

I'm missing a few other performances, but by the end, I felt like I was craving something savory instead of sweet - more adult fare, or at least a storyline to follow. After all these years, what entertained me as a child, sends me into diabetic shock as an adult. I may need listen to a good honkey tonk show to bring my sugar levels down. Unfortunately I agree with NYT's Alastair Macauley's comment a year ago - Mr. B's Nutcracker is not one of his best works, or the best Nut out there. I'd like more dance content for the adult roles and more light and shade for the story line. But for that, I may have to one day venture out on my own Nutcracker marathon.

I pretty much agree with your assessment. Act 1 already has so little "real" ballet dancing in it even in other productions, and then Balanchine took out even more by giving so much time to the children. In one way I am sure it made it more fun as a family affair, but I think your assessment of it being diabetic shock is on the mark. Too sweet. Nothing savory! LOL That was a great metaphor to use for your review.

Btw, Daniel Ulbricht is amazing in other things (not that he wasn't great last night as Candy Cane). I saw him do Tarantella, and he blew me away! He is a very athletic dancer. Although the hoop trick Balanchine has the candy cane do is fun, it isn't as exciting as some of the more Russian looking dances I have seen in other productions. To me the music sounds so Russian, so I like the dancing to have a more Russian look to it.

Kelly Ripa got better later, but at first it sounded like she was trying to have a non-descript European accent or something. It was strange. It was like she was trying to pronounce things very carefully or something. I did think some of her questions were good though.

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