ARB’s staging, which revives the first-act choreography of company founder Audrée Estey, also makes a point about energy, with a comic “Grossvater Tanz” in which both children and adults surprise each other cutting loose. Estey’s contributions to “The Nutcracker” are humble, yet unlike more famous names (think Alexei Ratmansky) she managed to knit the two acts of the spectacle together without imposing a burdensome drama. In Clara’s dream, characters from the first act reappear transformed: the dolls become the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, for instance; and the “Big Family” reflects Mother Ginger and her brood. Given the overblown alternatives, there is much to celebrate in such simple competence.
Tuesday, November 29
Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:46 PM
Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:51 PM
“If I said once in a lifetime, I might put a jinx on it, so I don’t want to say that. It was just extremely rewarding,” said Stubbs, whose wife, the California Ballet Company former prima ballerina Denise Dabrowski, accompanied him on the trip. “I really learned a lot from them, from the culture and the dancers.”
The company had leanred about Stubbs through dancer Vadim Solomakha, who has danced for both the California Ballet and Ochi. Stubbs oversaw a week of rehearsals, working with the orchestra and the dancers, and conducted two performances (Nov. 12-13) of Minkus’ “La Bayadère.”
Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:52 PM
To complicate a rather uncomplicated approach, the program is also divided into two halves. "Act 1: The Classical Christmas," is the serious half that reflects the highbrow standard of the "Nutcracker" and Handel's "Messiah" and is in keeping with the religious solemnity of the holiday.
"Act 2: The Cool Christmas" is the other Smuin -- Christmas by way of Vegas or "So You Think You Can Dance?" This is where Elvis makes an appearance, bobby-soxers lock their legs in swing routines and a hot cougar tells "Santa Baby" what she wants for Christmas.
Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:54 PM
Apart from dancing, she prefers coaching to teaching.
"It's a different mentality. When you teach dance, people come to your class every day -whether they like it or not. It's just a matter of discipline and I don't find it interesting. It becomes a kind of daily job and I don't like that. But in coaching, when they're passionate about it, they have a will to understand, to ask questions and to take it further. I find it interesting when it's like an adaptation for each individual dancer."
Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:25 PM
Mateo has made Clara into a budding ballerina in his version of the familiar ballet, assigning her more dancing than children in many other productions. Clara appears throughout the first act. She enters and weaves among the fairies in the dream scene silhouetted against a starry sky backdrop. Hingham’s Jaclyn Sanford appeared as one of the fairies. She had to race backstage to change into a billowing 19th-century style ball gown to dance as a parent at the Christmas party that followed. She made another quick change while the scene transformed to a forest where she was in the corps de ballet of Snowflakes. She also appeared in Act II as a Court Maid to the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:29 PM
Artistic Director Peggy Peabody developed the idea for Ballet Petit in 1977 at a nursery school after completing her studies at the San Francisco Ballet School. A mini version of The Nutcracker led in 1979 led to a separate entity, Ballet Petit, which opened in Newark in 1983. As Ballet Petit has grown and its dancers have matured, productions have become more sophisticated and although the focus is on ballet as a classical art form rather than competition, both serious and recreational dancers have found a home at Ballet Petit to sharpen their skills.
Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:34 PM
What’s changed is that 50-year-old Green, like many in her generation of dance artists, switched from a performance-oriented career in New York to teaching in a university dance department. Her job at the University of California San Diego has eaten into her ability to make dances; it took a sabbatical this fall to give her time to stretch her creative wings. But the university environment has also brought exciting new dimensions to her work.
“I’m really loving doing the historical research,” she says. “I’m sure it’s the opportunities I have in an academic setting that allow me to think that way. It’s a much richer process and more satisfying.”
Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:46 PM
It also made him attractive to other companies hoping to draw a younger audience. Ballet Memphis and Denver Ballet have hired him, but the results of these cross-discipline experiments seem to have left all sides dissatisfied. Mr. Harris speaks with irritation of the assumption that ballet dancers can immediately handle any style of dance.
The Ailey dancers are different. “They know the language,” Mr. Harris explains. “I just have to remind them.” To that end, he devoted a third of his allotted rehearsal time to a company class and worked so slowly that some of the dancers initially found the process tedious.
Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:48 PM
The annual tradition was previously performed by the Cleveland San Jose Ballet every year until the ballet discontinued their operations in Cleveland in 2000. Luckily, since the ballet’s departure, Cleveland has managed to attract a host of touring ballet companies, each offering their own rendition of the classic ballet set to the famous Tchaikovsky score of the same name.
This year is no exception--in fact, Cleveland families have several options to choose from to see this holiday classic.
Posted 30 November 2011 - 11:10 AM
That may be why their families and friends see it. But I went to Friday's opening wondering why, when my bosses don't require it, I still care about seeing this Nutcracker I found three answers:
1 It's live performance. You never know when a dancer might have a magical moment, even in a mediocre role. You don't have to be a professional viewer, or even a dedicated balletomane, to appreciate perfection when you see it: The audience recognized it Friday in Sara Webb, a Sugar Plum who personifies the music with sunny grace, delicacy, sharpness and speed. Tchaikovsky would have liked her - and Snow Queen Karina Gonzalez as well, whose gracious charm seemed designed to satisfy the dreams of the children in the audience as well as their parents. Connor Walsh, the night's Prince, partnered them both generously.
Posted 30 November 2011 - 11:36 AM
This production, which was conceived and designed by director Nanette Vallas, to Tchaikovsky's rich score is presented by a cast of 90 dancers. The choreography is by resident choreographer Christina Fagundes, former ballerina with American Ballet Theatre. Highlighting the performances are American Ballet Theatre soloist dancers Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews.
Posted 30 November 2011 - 11:37 AM
Now aged 32, [Melissa] Barak returns this year to work with the company dancers, who are currently preparing to perform on the weekends of Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11.
Since leaving Westside Ballet of Santa Monica to launch her professional career, a few of her highlights include becoming a soloist and principal with NYC Ballet and becoming an award winning choreographer and the youngest choreographer every commissioned by NYC ballet. She later joined Los Angeles Ballet and now teaches at Westside School of Ballet.
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