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1958 Balanchine Nutcracker Television VersionPlayhouse 90

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#16 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:58 AM

Thank you Marga for your on the scene report! Imagine TV cutting that scene!

I thought "Playhouse 90" was called that because it ran 90 minutes, including commercials and introductions. So there was some pressure on Balanchine to cut. Besides, he may have thought by then - this came out later when he omitted a number from the "Dance in America" broadcast of Prodigal Son, one for the Drinking Companions only - that the apparent pace of dance on screen was slower than in the theater unless something was done to enliven things. Certainly some of the tempos in the 1958 video are fast, driven, even, and I think he also felt that modern audiences don't "get" pantomime, the more general television audience even more so than the theater audience, and so that may be the thinking behind why this bit was cut.

At MCB in Fort Lauderdale three weeks ago, the circular-walk introduction Mel admired may nearly have come back. I'm not sure whether it was a certain vagueness in execution or in my attention at that moment, but I recall thinking Eran Kornfeld's performance seemed not to have a definite direction at first - going in a circle? - before he got into the literal arm and hand gestures of his story.

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