For as many "Nutcrackers" as the crew at San Francisco Ballet have performed, it's a tribute to the company that every year the dancers attack their roles - no matter how small - with enthusiasm and zeal. Some of the most enjoyable moments of Friday's opening took only a few minutes of stage time - a demure, yet spirited, Nicole Finken as Clara guided by the avuncular Val Caniparoli as Drosselmeyer, Garen Scribner's appealingly limber clown and Clara Blanco's adorably staccato dancing doll in the first act, Louis Schilling's tastefully burlesque Madame Du Cirque and Lonnie Weeks' high flying and acrobatic tumbles in the Chinese divertissement in the second act.
Monday, December 12
Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:39 PM
Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:43 PM
Dance Prism was formed in 1982 by Scott Ranagan and Mary Demaso. Ranagan still choreographs the company's productions, and Demaso still dances in them. The company recruits children from Central Massachusetts, using them in various productions and, over the past 40 years, many members of the touring company have literally grown up through Dance Prism's rehearsals.
That generational fusion gives the company an interesting cohesion and professional sheen, even if some of the dancers are still learning the trade. The mix of learners and pros can lead to botched entries or even bumped heads, but the momentum of past lessons carries all before it. And there's always a beguiling energy to the littlest ones acquiring the right uniform moves.
Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:45 PM
The result is a “La Sylphide” in the spirit and style of its first staging rather than an attempt to accurately reproduce the original. Some aspects of Lacotte’s production clearly differ from what was seen at the Paris Opera in 1832. At the premiere, only Marie Taglioni danced in pointe shoes, which were then a novelty in ballet of very recent origin. Lacotte has placed them on the feet of the entire female corps de ballet. The principal male role of James was essentially created for an actor. In Lacotte’s reconstruction, James becomes a full-fledged dancer. Despite these and other bits of “modernization,” Lacotte’s version of “La Sylphide” quite convincingly evokes the ballet world of a long-lost era, just as his reconstruction did for the Bolshoi 12 years ago of Marius Petipa’s classic from the 1860s, “The Pharaoh’s Daughter.”
Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:50 PM
The Toronto Star
Ford steps in the snow prints of a long line of VIPs, celebrities and politicians, among them former mayors Barbara Hall and David Miller, who’ve appeared in these cameo roles. Such walk-on opportunities pervade The Nutcracker world.
The stage can be an intoxicating place and Ford was clearly enjoying his brief moment in the ballet spotlight. Still, if he’s tempted to throw up City Hall for what seems a more glamorous life, he should probably think twice. The pay is not so great and with looming arts budget cuts it can only get worse.
The Huffington Post
Ford made a cameo as a Cannon Doll, alongside rookie Councillor Michelle Berardinetti. The mayor played the role of the instigator, encouraging a performer dressed like a Russian czar to fire a cannon while Berardinetti waved them off. After the cannon went off the two politicians moved to the side of the stage. Total performance time: roughly two and a half wordless minutes. You can see video of the cameo here.
Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:53 PM
She will assume her new role, based in King’s College, London, in March, 2012 and will continue to liaise with the Royal Opera House until the delivery of its contributions to next year’s Cultural Olympiad.
The King’s College Partnership is described as “a cross-disciplinary teaching and research initiative with innovative collaboration across the cultural sector at its heart”. Bull told The Stage her new role will be concerned with creating “a neutral space where different organisations can come together, and a crucible where ideas can be shared and challenged, and spark off each other”.
Posted 12 December 2011 - 01:57 PM
No more is dance the preserve of the few sitting in the theatre - larger companies are leaping hungrily for TV and now cinema screens, having found various ways around the longstanding obstacle of copyright. The BBC is experimenting with live 3D cinema for Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing final, the Royal Ballet is beaming Thursday's performance of The Sleeping Beauty live to the world's cinemas. And if anyone has been yearning in vain for a live Nutcracker this winter (unlikely, with half a dozen productions up and down Britain), they can buy a movie ticket next week to watch a "live" performance of the New York City Ballet's Nutcracker by George Balanchine, considered by Americans (naturally) to be the best there is.
Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:36 AM
The San Jose "Nutcracker" owes its longevity at least partially to Nahat's having made sense of what Tchaikovsky considered an impossible libretto: Act 1 takes place in the real world, Act 2 happens in the imagination. The composer, at first, rejected writing the music.
Nahat bridged the two halves with the image of a journey. His heroine Maria follows the Nutcracker Prince Alexis on a trip around the world. They seek and interact with other cultures.
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