Friday, December 16
Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:28 PM
South Florida Classical Review
Supervised by artistic director, Edward Villella, the production is tight and brisk, the scenes flowing with cinematic fluidity. In the first part of Act I, children from the Miami City Ballet School danced with brisk precision and unanimity, clearly the result of hours of disciplined rehearsal. In the role of the magician Herr Drosselmeier, made much less sinister by Balanchine than in Hoffmann’s original story, Yann Trividic literally towers over all before him, turning this mostly mime role into a scene stealer. As the child heroine Marie, Margarita Armas cuts an elegant figure, partnered incisively by the Nutcracker Prince of Eran Kornfeld.
Miami New Times'blog
This year I sat in the third tier at the Adrienne Arsht Center for a more panoramic perspective. Up there, most of the rows were taken by parents or grandparents with toddlers in enormous tulle skirts with velvet bodices. The costumes worn by these tiny ballet fans rivaled those of the little girls and boys playing party guests on stage.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:29 PM
Morgan has added lots of twists to the story. But first and foremost, she was determined that her “Nutcracker” would be whimsical and filled with joy.
And it is. Morgan has left no gag behind, no dance phrase undeveloped. Sometimes, in fact, the movement and onstage images are so densely packed that you just know you’re missing something taking place elsewhere on the stage.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:25 PM
The magic of Anna-Marie Holmes’s choreography is that it can accommodate an elementary school’s worth of those kids with such ease and humour. She takes every opportunity she can to use the Goh’s legions of students to her advantage: a diminutive Little Mouse jumps giddily out between the Mouse King’s legs during the battle scene, and one of the tiny gymnasts refuses to run back under Mere Gignogne’s voluminous skirts.
And yet ballet aficionados can also get their fix here and there. Amid the lesser-known stars, a standout is Janica Grenier’s Snow Queen, whose extensions are impossibly elastic, and her partner, Vlademir Pereira, pulls off a dizzying array of jumps. As for the crowd pleasers of the night, top honours go to the low-kicking Russian dancers (Dustin Carnie, Stanislav Galimkhanov, and Yuta Kawakami).
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:28 PM
For the past several years, the Montreal company has staged free performances of the Tchaikovsky ballet for regional kids, most of whom come from families without the financial means to buy tickets to the ballet. For 1,900 kids, it was a gift from a special program (Une école montréalaise pour tous) that seeks to give children from schools in less-privileged districts a chance to visit cultural institutions; for 900 others, their present came from the donor-supported Nutcracker Fund. The fund also benefits from sales at the Nutcracker Market, a Place Bonaventure fair that Les Grands Ballets Canadiens created with local businesses two years ago.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:32 PM
Tutus for Swan Lake are swapped for red skirts and white peasant tops for a dance to the tune of the 19th-century Russian folk song "Kalinka", the second in the evening's repertoire.
Dubbing themselves Barborka, after Saint Barbara -- the patron saint of coal miners -- the dance troupe performed for members of a senior citizens' university on the Christian feast of Saint Andrew on November 30.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:32 PM
Still, if there was a single performance I would single out from Ballet Theater’s spring season, it would be the “Giselle” Mr. Hallberg danced with another of this spring’s luminaries, Alina Cojocaru, the Romanian-born star of the Royal Ballet in London. Ms. Cojocaru, dancing three ballets with the company, proved herself a rare artist. Her combination of fragility and radiance proved invariably heart catching; her way of playing to her colleagues gave the stage world a greater reality. The amplitude with which she yearningly opened herself into the night air as Giselle was momentous. Mr. Hallberg, partnering her for the first time, was classicism aflame.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:36 PM
Worse was yet to come. While travelling through Paris on his way to an American tour, Tchaikovsky read about the death of his beloved sister Sasha. Hysterical, he described an increasingly split personality: the one crumbling inside and the other that he had to maintain for adoring transatlantic fans. But instead of damaging his new project, Sasha's death rekindled Tchaikovsky's inspiration. It was not the first time that disaster had inspired his creativity: the opera Eugene Onegin was the product of a brief but catastrophic marriage. This time, The Nutcracker was going to be a repository for Tchaikovsky's grief.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:38 PM
The choreographer, Alexei Ratmansky, apparently directed the dancers to draw inspiration from the most ubiquitous pop-culture motifs. "Have you ever seen those 'Twilight' movies where you can see into the future?" Marcelo Gomes, who dances the lead role of the nutcracker prince, said of the references he was instructed to use in his performance. "Maybe not 'Twilight'—maybe 'Harry Potter.' I didn't see any of those movies," he added.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:40 PM
Artur Sultanov: I danced for OBT for eight years, and I still dance as a guest artist. I was ready for a change. After eight years, sometimes it feels like I’m just doing the same thing. I enjoyed teaching, including summer workshops.
Cynthia Sultanov: Artur has his own style. To produce a professional dancer, it takes eight to 10 years. The prime age to start is around 8 or 9 years old.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:41 PM
Clever is the only way to describe Bengt Jörgen’s 2008 Group of Seven Nutcracker which uses paintings by Franklin Carmichael, Tom Thomson and L.L. Fitzgerald as backdrops. Every incident of the Petipa scenario has been translated into Canadiana. The ballet is populated by snowshoes, canoes, beavers and voyageurs in their buckskins and woven sashes. Klara is an immigrant child who has brought her nutcracker doll from home.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:45 PM
The 34-year-old dancer, who studied in Lyon, returns there from December 17 to 23 with two of his creations, shown in a joint programme with the "Concerto Barocco" by the late Russian-American master George Balanchine.
"Sarabande" a 2009 work set to a score by Johann Sebastian Bach, is a lively, timeless work, while "This Part in Darkness", created this year and working in live video and minimalist music by David Lang, has a darker, contemporary feel.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:47 PM
"I'm looking forward to being able to focus on what I want to bring to the character, instead of the nerves that come with the first performance," he says.
He partners Nao Kusuzaki as Sugar Plum Fairy and Allison Miller as Snow Queen. When he's not dancing the Prince, you can watch him in several other standout roles during the run.
Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:57 PM
As a corrective to the saccharine excesses of most other productions, this is a darker reading of the story, full of shadows and moonlight, that extends the menacing presence of the Mouse King well into the second act.
It also toys with the notion of heroic confusion as The Nutcracker Doll, The Prince and Drosselmeyer’s nephew all appear to be part of the same fluctuating personality.
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