Though it can be hard work to watch the same “Nutcracker” more than once, it’s easy entertainment to watch lots of different ones in quick succession, as long as they use Tchaikovsky’s inexhaustible score. The level varies immensely — I love the lessons this affords into the sociology of American dance — and some productions aren’t really intended for the general public so much as for loyalists of the institution.
That certainly applies to “The Knickerbocker Suite,” an annual production by Manhattan Youth Ballet presented last week at the institution’s home theater.
Monday, December 17
Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:57 PM
Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:27 PM
Daniel plans to use the Hippodrome Art Fund to help the Pennsylvania Ballet defray costs of using the 2,200-seat theater. The fund currently has a pool of $450,000 and Daniel hopes to grow it to $1 million in the next few years. He plans to meet with Michael Scolamiero, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s executive director, and Roy Kaiser, the group’s artistic director, on Friday to discuss the deal.
Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:29 PM
With effective sets by Ariel Ballif and costumes by David Heuvel, the Ballet West "Nutcracker" dances a delicate line between the music's 19th-century world and the contemporary one of today's audiences. Sure and successful elements include the unaffected use of ballet-schooled children in the party scene and the charming presence of a dancing bear among the gifts presented.
The current staging also includes changes made by hands other than those of Christensen, who died in 2001. Of the updated details, some are rather crass.....
Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:34 PM
But if you look at the National Ballet roster you’ll notice grouped immediately under the list of principals — those who perform major prince/princess type roles — a separate category of senior-rank dancers: the principal character artists. They range in age from mid-30s to late 60s. Their responsibility is to bring to life the myriad characters who populate the big story ballets.
“We’re the mothers, the fathers, the kings and the witches,” says company veteran Lorna Geddes, who joined the National Ballet in 1959 at age 16. “You have the corps de ballet and you have the principals,” continues Geddes, “but it’s the character artists who function as the attachment between the group and the principal leads. We’re there to help them tell their story.”
Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:38 PM
But Galeazzi’s iron determination becomes even clearer when you take into account that she has a serious kidney disorder, which meant that in 2005 she was told she only had two more years of dancing left – and could never have children. With her tiny, seven-stone frame, big, soulful brown eyes and warm Italian nature, Galeazzi doesn’t immediately appear to be fighter material.
But the La Scala-trained dancer, who joined the Royal Ballet aged just 18 in 1992, had already proved herself up for a challenge. In December 2005, just two weeks after being admitted to hospital – 24 hours away, she was told, from a potential heart attack after her malfunctioning kidneys led to massive fluid build-up in her body – she was debuting in the lead role in Giselle.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:26 PM
The Great Russian Nutcracker incorporates large-scale puppets and and Russian folk characters Ded Moroz (aka Father Christmas) and the Snow Maiden. Additionally, this version reimagines the usual candy kingdom of second act as the "Land of Peace and Harmony." A magical dove brings Masha (usually called Clara) and the Nutcracker Prince to a wondrous land, where all creatures co-exist peacefully. The 20th anniversary edition includes new choreography for the Dove of Peace, a scene in which two dancers unite to dance the role of a soaring bird. The dove choreography was created by former Bolshoi Ballet soloist Stanislov Vlasov.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:28 PM
We'll be chatting live with some of the performers in this magical holiday classic before they hit the stage and giving you an opportunity to ask them questions directly. To join in and ask your question by web cam, click on the link below to RSVP to our chat and create a Spreecast account.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:32 PM
Many ballet stars hit the road during Nutcracker season to perform with local companies. Benefits include extra income and stage time, as well as the knowledge that they are inspiring and motivating the younger dancers in the production, many of them still students. "I look forward to this gig every year," Peck told me. "It's fun to share the stage with so many children. Also, my family and friends come and they don't normally get to see me dance in person." This year she performed alongside Joan Boada, a principal with the San Francisco Ballet who danced the Cavalier.
Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:42 PM
However, if it is beautiful, inventive or expressive choreography you want, then you are likely to be disappointed. There are faint echoes of Petipa’s original, but Bourne’s own dance vocabulary is sadly limited and looks particularly thin in the group dances. On the other hand, although he has a company of just 24, the stage never looks bare or devoid of characters.
Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:45 PM
What we get from the Kirov Academy is just under two hours of dancing, parading and action deftly interwoven to tell the story of the victory of beauty and virtue helped by fortune. Wasn't that the main message of the Petipa/Perrault fairytale? Petipa's other lessons about diplomacy and obligation are lost in this reduced version in which the envious witch Carabosse is killed. Miraculously, Kabaniaev's streamlining manages to side step the heaviness of Konstantin Sergeyev's Soviet version. Music (recorded but lively, melodious Tchaikovsky), and the sets (projected, tastefully minimal) and costumes (a bit mixed) serve. Remarkable is the uniform training in dance and deportment shown by all the students - the high carriage, the stately yet pliant gait, the lightly angled curve of the arms and, not least, a body awareness of other individuals on stage - dancing together these students converse.
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