The Royal Ballet has a strict rule about flower-giving: no dancer can receive a bouquet on stage if the lead ballerina hasn't been sent any. Fortunately, this rarely happens: a "flower fund", set up many years ago by a kindly member of the public, covers emergency bouquets – for key dancers without flowers, or whenever there is an embarrassingly uneven distribution among soloists.
Tuesday, December 18
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:19 PM
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:20 PM
Wright ramps up the emotion in his production, too, by having Clara start to fall in love with the Nutcracker as he's released from his spell – and act one benefits from having a blithe, airy pas de deux prefiguring a possible grown up romance: here Cojocaru is partnered by a very young and ardent-looking Ivan Putrov. Moving into the Kingdom of the Sweets at about 60.00 in the clip at the top of this page, the 2001 version has Miyako Yoshida and Jonathan Cope dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Yoshida, who also features in the 2009 cast, is one of my favourite ballerinas for this role, having the necessary mix of diminutive, music-box precision and serene grandeur.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:22 PM
New Jersey Ballet can always be counted upon for a high-energy performance that emphasizes the dancers' classical schooling. This decorum was manifest in the polished dancing of the children, led by Allison Ivan, as Clara. Even the smallest tot, bouncing on the sofa next to Grandmother, landed on the beat. In the same first-act "Party" scene the strength and confidence of Carmen Gonzalez
and Yuuki Yamamoto, the adult dancers playing automated dolls, brought these roles to life.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:24 PM
1954: Balanchine stages his now-famous version of The Nutcracker with the New York City Ballet, to overwhelming success. Balanchine’s staging adhered closely to the 1892 version, and continues to be performed by the New York City Ballet, as well as the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Oregon Ballet Theatre.
1963: Legendary ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev stages a version of The Nutcracker with the Royal Ballet in London. Nureyev starred as the Nutcracker Prince in the production, the 1968 performance of which is available on DVD.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:33 PM
One might expect the collaboration between a ballet company and an orchestra to be an elaborate affair, but much of the preparation is done separately; the companies will have just two rehearsals together before the curtain goes up. Under the direction of conductor Brian Asher Alhadeff, Opera San Luis Obispo’s orchestra is already rehearsing the score at the exact tempo specified by Gustafson — one of the great benefits of using live music.
Posted 19 December 2012 - 11:30 AM
Despite the many, many different productions that have been staged over its life, the problems of the story remain pretty much unsolved. All the story is concentrated into act one, as the magician Drosselmeyer attempts to use the heroine, Clara, to free his nephew from the curse that's transformed him into a hideous nutcracker. Yet most of the dancing is in act two, where Clara and the rescued Nutcracker Prince/Nephew have been whisked away to the Kingdom of Sweets to be rewarded by a feast of exotic divertissements. (There's a full synopsis of the action here.)
Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:18 AM
It’s interesting that Wordsworth positively embraces this sort of collaboration with the dancers – he works with them, the ballet master and the répétiteur from the outset - and in no way views necessary alterations to the score as sacrificing the composer’s intentions. ‘The successful ballet conductor takes all the ingredients of a ballet production and moulds them into his conception of the piece,’ he says. ‘By the time you come to the performance you’re not conducting wishing you could do this bit or that bit faster. You’ve got to have convinced yourself – and worked with the dancers in the studio enough – that your interpretation actually works.’
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