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Friday, December 9


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#1 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:06 AM

Reviews of the English National Ballet's Nutcracker.

The Evening Standard

Eagling sidesteps the problem of telling a coherent story by deciding that the weird bits are a dream experienced by the adolescent Clara on Christmas Eve. But this is the kind of dream that would make Freud himself surrender and resort to homilies about not eating cheese before bedtime. There are death's-head mice with blood-coloured eyes, a nutcracker that transforms back and forth into different soldiers, and a scene where Clara's brother, all grown up, appears in chains, surrounded by odalisques while being whipped by a slave master.


The Telegraph

Artistic director Wayne Eagling created his 2010 production in front of cameras, in the magnificent BBC Four series The Agony and the Ecstasy. Having been gripped by this apparently calamitous process, I frankly doubted that there would be much magic onstage. Balloons, yes; skating scenes, yes; mouse fights staged with the precision of Marlborough organising his troops at Blenheim, yes. Tricks, in other words. Window-dressing.


The Stage

Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov in the Act II pas de deux show once again the special magic that can be created by a mature ballerina with a younger partner. Klimentova’s precise and assured technique is perfectly matched with Muntagirov’s exuberant style. In the Act II divertissements Yonah Acosta (nephew of Carlos) gives a spirited Russian dance, and I especially like the Waltz of the Flowers with its ensemble of male and female dancers.



#2 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:08 AM

DanceWest Ballet presents its Nutcracker.

The story, dance and costuming is traditional “Nutcracker,” she said, filled with classical ballet. They even have a magical tree that “grows” from the ground, as well as a few other tricks and surprises.
Randy Herrera, a former principal dancer with Houston Ballet, is the featured guest artist as the Cavalier.

“He’s really accomplished, just a world-renown dancer, and we’re really fortunate to have him,” she said. “He does a lot of overhead lifts and turns with the Sugar Plum, and that’s very exciting in the second act. This is our fourth or fifth year having Randy guest with us. We’re really fortunate.”



#3 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:13 AM

Charleston Ballet Theatre will feature dogs in need of homes during its Nutcracker run.

This holiday season, the Charleston Ballet Theatre and the Charleston Animal Society have teamed up in what will make for one of the most unique dog adoption opportunities of the year. Dancers and dogs will share the stage during upcoming performances in hopes of finding the CAS's loving canines a happy home.



#4 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:14 AM

The Eglevsky Ballet presents its Nutcracker.

Returning guest artists, Lia Cirio and James Whiteside, principal dancers of The Boston Ballet Company will be joining the professional company of 24 dancers. They will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier. The company is joined by a cast of 61 Long Island’s most talented young dance students selected through competitive auditions. Many of these students participated in the Eglevsky Ballet Summer Intensive Workshop at Hofstra University this past summer. Garden city residents Emily Aprigliano, Jillian Aprigliano, Frances Brown, Julia Conroy, Mia Curtin, Antonella D’Amelio, Nicole D’Amelio, Christina Giannone, Holly Kopke, Grace Ann Limoncelli, Kate McKay, Susannah McKay, Christina Papachristos, Liliana Papachristos, Melina Papachristos, Madeline Roberti, Elena Severini, Lindsay Welsh, Seunghyun Woo, Seungmin Woo will perform in various roles in the production.



#5 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:16 AM

Lauren Cuthbertson prepares for "The Sleeping Beauty."

'It's like being a ventriloquist', she says. 'Behind my smile I'm saying things like "more to the left . . . now a little to the right", just loud enough for the others on stage to hear, but the naked eye won't see my lips move.

'Now I've been warned that close-up shots will give this secret away, so I've got to keep my mouth shut. We are rehearsing extra hard to make sure we all get it right on the night and I don't need to give anyone any orders!'



#6 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:19 AM

Ross Petty is interviewed in The Globe and Mail about the family living room.

For the past 20 years, Winnipeg-born actor Ross Petty has lived in a renovated 1873 farmhouse in North Toronto with his wife, National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain, and their nine-year-old Maine Coon cat, Eddie.

Surrounded by towering pines, the brick two-storey is a scene-stealer in its own right, but is especially magical at Christmastime, when a large tree and roaring fire command the living room, Petty’s favourite place in the house.

#7 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:23 AM

More reviews of ENB's Nutcracker.

The Arts Desk

Sad to say, last night its return to the Coliseum only emphasised how a decent production continues to feel as if it is pulling itself in two. The polite 19th-century-style designs of Peter Farmer can't live with the bruise-purple 21st-century nightclub lighting of David Richardson. Red-eyed raggedy rodents (pictured above) seem designed, properly and memorably, to be creatures of nightmare whom Clara and the Nutcracker will vanquish, yet they’re played for light laughs and make a general nuisance of themselves without obvious purpose. There are confusing substitutions and switches of nephews and Nutcrackers, of a young prepubescent Clara for a mature ballerina Clara. A pervy Arabian dance with whips follows a delightfully childish hot-air balloon ride. Contradictions everywhere, rather than harmony in the storytelling, harmony in the theatrical purpose.


The Independent

The BBC documentary Agony & Ecstasy then showed the panics of getting a not-really-finished production to the stage. This time, Eagling's Nutcracker is a great deal tidier, and much more happily danced. On opening night, Daria Klimentová was radiant in the ballerina role, with other soloists giving boldly energetic performances.



#8 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:25 AM

An interview with Yuka Silvera, designer of the Hampton Ballet Theatre School's Nutcracker costumes.

One of the most sought after dances, Silvera says, is Snow. “It’s a costume many aspire to wear,” she explains. “It’s a big step to dance Snow, and that’s why it’s important to make a special costume for the difficult dance.” The design for Snow is very close to Karinska’s design at the NYC Ballet, Silvera says.

The attention that goes in to creating these costumes requires a lot of time and planning. It’s a process. Once Strickland chooses the next show, she and Silvera will have their first design meeting, when Strickland might suggest an idea or color scheme. Then Silvera goes into the city to purchase the materials, and she gets to work. “I buy great materials that aren’t too expensive but are high quality,” she said.



#9 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:26 AM

Crunching the numbers for Nutcracker season.

Though Los Angeles has a large number of ballet companies performing the Tchaikovsky classic, it's not the U.S. city with the most total "Nutcracker" performances.

According to Goldstar, the discount live event ticketing service that hands out an award every year to the top-rated "Nutcracker" production in the country, there are 12 separate productions of "The Nutcracker" in Los Angeles and another six in the Inland Empire and Orange County. By comparison, New York City has five productions and Chicago has seven. But Chicago is tops when it comes to total performances, with 60.



#10 dirac

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:28 AM

Ballet Des Moines presents its Nutcracker. Photo gallery and video clip.

Serkan Usta, the artistic director for Ballet Des Moines, said Des Moines needs a professional ballet company all its own.
“If there is no company, they will leave and hone their talents in other cities,” Usta said, of budding dancers.

Rachel Gross has been executive director of Ballet Des Moines for a year. She majored in dance at the University of Iowa before getting a degree in performing arts management in Illinois. “It’s been a pretty big season for us,” she said. “We have two dancers coming from Mexico this year. I’m really excited to see them dance.”



#11 dirac

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:54 PM

A review of American Ballet Theatre by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

Alexei Ratmansky’s version of “The Nutcracker” could be a case study in how to revisit an old text and create something new and alive from it. Of the many improvements he has made to the dusty tale, none is more powerful than the through-line of romance, which starts with Clara and her doll, continues as she dreams the beloved toy into a living prince and culminates in a pas de deux of real human consequence.

#12 dirac

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 10:55 PM

A review of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet by Donald Rosenberg in The Plain Dealer.

At Thursday’s opening, the role of the grown-up Clara had a radiant interpreter in Amanda Green, who made a seamless transition from touching teen on the brink of change to regal beauty in solos and duets with the Nutcracker Prince.

Green’s refined sense of line and spot-on pirouettes were but part of the charisma she brought to the role. Every gesture had a place in the expressive scheme of things. With Dmitri Dovgoselets, a sympathetic and limber Nutcracker Prince, Green made easy work of the lifts and fish dives, both at the end of Act 1 and in the Grand Pas de Deux, often performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

#13 dirac

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:15 PM

A review of the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker by Clement Crisp in The Financial Times.


Every year, as I return to the Royal Ballet’s staging of The Nutcracker, I ask myself if it can still be as good as I believe it to be. And every year, at curtain fall, I know that this production by Peter Wright remains the best I have seen – and at my christening Carabosse contented herself by snarling, “He shall see a hell of a lot of Nutcrackers”.

#14 dirac

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:20 PM

A preview of New York City Ballet's Nutcracker broadcast by Jocelyn Noveck for the Associated Press.

"There's nothing like the real thing," says an admittedly "totally biased" Peter Martins, the company's ballet master in chief. "Of course, the hope is that if this works — however you define success — it will become a new way to show the world what we do so well."

Martins — a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet under his legendary predecessor, Balanchine — grew up in Denmark and thus wasn't exposed to "The Nutcracker" until he came to New York as a young adult. But he's well aware of its crucial role as an introduction to ballet for generations of Americans — including virtually all his own dancers.

#15 dirac

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 12:33 PM

An interview with Megan Fairchild by Kathy Adams in The Salt Lake Tribune.


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