abatt

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

195 posts in this topic

I thought Chelsea wasn't great, but wasn't bad either. It's best to start these types of media jobs in smaller markets and work up, so the press thinks you're paying your dues, and you actually are paying your dues (and getting better) before appearing on the national stage.

If Chelsea started out hosting an Arts program on a local Connecticut PBS station, it would be a coup for that station, but the spotlight would allow her to grow into a TV role. I think Maria Shriver did this better, starting at the local level. Megan McCain (though I often disagree with her) is the only one out of them all to do really well.

Share this post


Link to post

A reminder that this performance is returning to U.S. cinemas on Saturday, December 5 at 12:55 pm local time, and Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 pm local time.

http://www.fathomevents.com/event/new-york-city-ballet

locations: http://www.fathomevents.com/event/new-york-city-ballet/more-info/theater-locations
cast sheet: https://fathomeventwebsite.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/EventMedia/Nutcracker_Cast-Sheet.pdf

trailer:

Share this post


Link to post

Do they have different casting for Dec. 5th & 10th, two broadcastings? I guess the theater could be very crowded for Saturday's show. If I could chose, I might want to go on Thursday night. Fathom usually does not post casting info, or I have not found the info path.

Share this post


Link to post

This is the same film that was presented on public television about two years ago. The cast does not change depending on whether you see it on Dec 5 or 10. Someone p osted a link to the casting above. Megan Fairchild is Sugarplum, Bouder is Dewdrop and DeLuz is Cavalier

Share this post


Link to post

This is the same film that was presented on public television about two years ago. The cast does not change depending on whether you see it on Dec 5 or 10. Someone p osted a link to the casting above. Megan Fairchild is Sugarplum, Bouder is Dewdrop and DeLuz is Cavalier

Thank you for the info!
How bad the image quality was! It does not look like HD?!
No wonder, it is from TV screen to movie theater screen.
:innocent:

Share this post


Link to post

Well not exactly. Four years ago it was broadcast live into movie theaters, and the next day the same cast performed on a live TV broadcast on PBS. I don't think there were serious complaints about the image quality of the cinemacast.

Share this post


Link to post

It played beautifully (in HD) on TV -- still have it on my DVR.

Share this post


Link to post

I just came from today's performance at the cinema. The visual was fine including some nice close-ups of Clothilde conducting. There was something wrong with the audio - it sounded compressed, canned, like AM radio. I don't think the problem was with the theatre sound system, it sounded more like the recording process and/or the feed. Curious if anyone else heard the same.

Share this post


Link to post

The video director needs to pull back much more of the time. Frequent close ups can work for opera IMHO, but not for ballet. I've seen Met Opera video direction much improve over the years; hopefully, ballet direction will too over time.

Share this post


Link to post

I wish people would take another look at what people call the "Nashville years" of Dance in America -- I can't put my finger on the exact time frame, but among the work they taped were the earlier Balanchine DiA programs. Emile Ardolino directed some of them, Girish Bhargava edited many, and Balanchine had a lot of input on the NYCB episodes. They found a great balance between wide shots that let us see the relationship between people and space, and a variety of closer shots that gave us a better sense of detail.

Share this post


Link to post

I wish people would take another look at what people call the "Nashville years" of Dance in America -- I can't put my finger on the exact time frame, but among the work they taped were the earlier Balanchine DiA programs. Emile Ardolino directed some of them, Girish Bhargava edited many, and Balanchine had a lot of input on the NYCB episodes. They found a great balance between wide shots that let us see the relationship between people and space, and a variety of closer shots that gave us a better sense of detail.

I agree, sandik, although I think Merrill Brockway was the excellent director of the majority of those shows you rightly admire. The series began to be broadcast in January 1976 with the Joffrey Ballet in a show directed by Jerome Schnur, actually, according to my notes; Brockway came on for the second show, "Sue's Leg: Remembering the Thirties" with Twyla Tharp's dancers, and stayed until 1988.

That series was a high-water mark in my book for putting dance on the television screen - or any screen - so people could see it without much interference. Would you say we could forget sometimes that we were watching a transmission or something and were just watching dancing? Here's Brockway in that interview late in his life:

A lot of people have commented that the shooting, our shooting was just boring, it was too bland, but Balanchine wanted you to see the dance. We didn’t want the camera to distract you. A lot of television today [consists of] fast cuts but dancing doesn’t take to that– particularly ballet dancing. You have to trust the dancing. That was Balanchine’s phrase. When we talked at first, he said, “Would you trust the dancing?” And I said, “Yes.” It took me years to figure out what he meant, but I think I found out.

Brockway was the great director of "the Nashville DiA" series in my book - Ardolino often produced or assisted, and learned a lot from him, and directed some shows after Brockway's retirement, but while Ardolino knew how to make good shots, he tended to make too many of them, and the frequent cutting from one to the next could become distracting.

Share this post


Link to post

Jack R, many thanks for the correct -- it was indeed Merrill Brockway who is responsible for much of the excellent work done in the early years of that series. I couldn't put my hands on my copy of Robert Coe's book, and when I looked online for a quick answer, I was distressed to realize that I couldn't find a list of programs on the PBS site, nor is there a dedicated article on Wikipedia. That seems like a gap that needs filling.

Share this post


Link to post

Well not exactly. Four years ago it was broadcast live into movie theaters, and the next day the same cast performed on a live TV broadcast on PBS. I don't think there were serious complaints about the image quality of the cinemacast.

The video director needs to pull back much more of the time. Frequent close ups can work for opera IMHO, but not for ballet. I've seen Met Opera video direction much improve over the years; hopefully, ballet direction will too over time.

Yes, and yes. As I recall, back in the day some of us had strong criticisms of the camera-work and directing and cried out for the late Emil Ardolino, the director of the well-shot 1993 Warner Brothers DVD, but I can't locate that thread to link to just now.

Some of us also felt the performance was "soul-less," and required an antidote, which we found in parts of that 1993 recording - fortunately, I wound up seeing Villella's company just a week later (a long-planned trip) and what an "antidote" that was! Antidote, nothing, it was an elixir!

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry to have been unclear. I didn't like the way this Nutcracker was shot either; I have lots of gripes about the way ballet cinemacasts are shot. I only wanted to say that the video itself was bona fide HD.

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm. Actually, for what it's worth, that's what I thought you meant! I don't think it's that hard any more given contemporary technology, to have sharp, clear moving images, realistic color, no noticeable blurring of motion, etc., and still somehwere the people behind those fine cameras make poor decisions about how to use them. Two separate, independent aspects of the process.

Which reminds me, the cameras at Opryland Productions in Nashville gave a particularly unsubtle color rendition, compared with those used on other television programs produced elsewhere, so that today I usually like what I see a little better in that regard by turning down the color control on my TV slightly.

IIRC, press at the time told us that Brockway and his colleagues liked to work there because they could set up very long shots, far enough back to have all the dancers in them, without revealing the lights overhead as they would in a smaller studio with a lower ceiling. (Or traveling shots where the cameras and the dancers had room to move.) Whether or not they liked the unsubtle color, I don't remember reading.

The studio's main program, a country-music show called "Hee Haw," was thought by some at the time to be conceived as something to look like a "live action" comic strip, and bold comic-strip coloring was part of that, along with some lurid "art cards" - graphics inserted between short scenes and "blackout" comedy bits.

Share this post


Link to post

This is the same film that was presented on public television about two years ago. The cast does not change depending on whether you see it on Dec 5 or 10. Someone p osted a link to the casting above. Megan Fairchild is Sugarplum, Bouder is Dewdrop and DeLuz is Cavalier

I'm VERY confused. I went on Saturday the 5th to the movie theater. Was this a recording or a live performance..? Kelly Ripa conducted, but she had like two different outfits at different points, so I don't think it was live.

Share this post


Link to post

This is part of the Lincoln Center at the Movies series (which also had SF Ballet, Ailey, and Ballet Hispanico earlier in the season) -- none of these are live transmissions. But this is, I think, the only program that has already been broadcast/screened.

Share this post


Link to post

Last night I went to see it and enjoyed vary much! I might go to Seattle to visit my cousin next week. Let me try to persuade her to go to see PNB's Nutcracker.

Of cause I had watched Nutcracker before. However, this is one of the classical ballets, I have to sit in theaters without freedom to move around so as to watch it from end to end. And I could never finish watching it in front of TV, computer screen and etc.
IMHO, Balanchine's Nutcracker is more of a family party than dancing. That let me recall about 10 years ago I went to see Nutcracker, performed by a tour group of NYCB or ABT in Kodak Theater, Los Angeles. At the box office I was told only two types of tickets were available, $125 for the orchestra floor and $17 the top 4-th floor. Then, I bought a tickets of $17 and could see only the front half of stage without stage sets, and missed a lot of corp de ballet dancing. I saw the audiences around, 99% were parents with little kids. All of them enjoyed the ballet, though they could not see the famous Christmas Tree on stage.

:dunno:
After that, I was wondering why THE theater made the tickets for a family-entertaining ballet so expensive. If the tickets for orchestra seats were about $80, many parents on the top floor might be willing to spend $300 for two kids and themselves to see the WHOLE beautiful ballet. As I know, many ballet theaters make income by performing Nutcracker during the holiday season. But, why not, there should be a balance, leave the $125 seats empty or lower the tickets price to sell them. Frankly speaking, ballet as an art with "high-elevated form", if it is too commercialized, that is not good for it.
BTW, I like SFBallet's Nutcracker better than NYCB's. :flowers:

Share this post


Link to post