Musings on "The Nutcracker
" from Anne Applebaum for Slate
There are, of course, other ways to deal with the production. In Russia, the focus is on the extraordinarily athletic dancers. I once saw Mikhail Baryshnikov dance the Nutcracker and still remember how he leapt into the air and appeared to hang there for several seconds. The Polish version, at least the one we saw last week, provides extraordinary sets, gorgeous costumes, and a plot revolving around a magic lantern that all of the characters enter, somehow, to dance out that long second act.
But while the ballet can be designed and choreographed in different ways, the audience never changes. Wherever and whenever I've seen the Nutcracker, it's always at Christmastime, and it's always in a theater filled with children. Many of the little girls, whether in Warsaw or Washington, are wearing velvet dresses.....