dirac

Monday, December 16

17 posts in this topic

A review of the Dance Conservatory Performance Project's Nutcracker.

The first act was one of the most delightful I have seen--and I have seen countless Nutcrackers. It was charming and colorful, with children ranging from the very young (perhaps 3 years old) to older, advanced girls. Clara, the heroine, played by Darrah Brewster and her two friends, Nikita Boris and Isabelle Breier, were on pointe, performing more elaborate choreography than demanded in many other productions. Fritz, Clara's younger brother, played superbly by Gabriel Grizelj, was much younger than Brewster's Clara. Darrah is surely a talented young dancer who displayed good training, but I would have preferred to see her having more fun during the ballet rather than struggling with the more intricate aspects of the choreography.

Share this post


Link to post

A review in brief of the English National Ballet by Siobhan Murphy for Metro.

There are, however, some lovely touches: the ice skaters outside Clara’s family house; the rambunctious children’s games at the Christmas party (though maybe the kids’ dancing could be trimmed a bit); James Streeter’s swaggering Mouse King; a fiery Spanish Dance (led by Yonah Acosta); a firecracker turn from Ken Saruhashi in the Russian Dance; an enchanting duet from Mirlitons Ksenia Ovsyanick (who’s also lovely to watch as Clara’s sister and a Lead Snowflake) and Fabian Reimair.

Share this post


Link to post

A previe of Ballet Idaho's Nutcracker.

However, Anastos, who not only helps to choreograph “The Nutcracker,” but ultimately puts on the entire artistic production, wanted Ballet Idaho’s nutcracker to stand out. Anastos decided that the nutcracker should be a life-sized doll who dances with Clara, the main character. He then went on to create the idea of a mechanical mouse, a dancer who is made to look like metal, which allowed Anastos to establish the idea of a crazy mouse scurrying around the house.

Share this post


Link to post

A report on Madison Square Garden's Jingle Ball and New York City Ballet's annual Nutcracker family benefit (scroll down).

The cast of “The Nutcracker,” from the mice to the snowflakes to the sugar plum fairies, mingled with guests—including all of the children who rotate in roles on stage. For the first time this year, the organization auctioned an exact replica of Marie’s nightgown, handmade by the New York City Ballet costume shop.

Share this post


Link to post

A review of San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker by Rita Felciano for danceviewtimes.

In their first Queen and King of the Snow together, Frances Chung and Jaime Garcia Castilla were excllently partnered even though Garcia Castilla, with his eternally boyish look, is still very much the junior member of the team. Whether traveling side-by-side or with overhead lifts, the two of them danced as if having come out of one mold. The clarity Chung brought even to her speediest phrasing was a marvel to behold.The Snowflakes choreography still disappears in what is a lot more than a winter wonderland. However, to have the dancers surge out of this storm and slide into cheesy picture postcard poses served as a witty reminder that Tomasson took his inspiration from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition.

Share this post


Link to post

Reviews of the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker.

The Globe and Mail

Kudelka designed his Nutcracker to have a moral, so he just doesn’t have a young girl go on a magic journey with her Nutcracker doll. Rather, it is battling siblings, Marie (Olivia McAlpine) and her brother Misha (Eamon Stocks) who travel with the Nutcracker. The two learn to get along during their adventures.

The National Post

Kudelka’s Nutcracker forces the National Ballet of Canada dancers to give everything they’ve got. But there are a few moments that perhaps push the dancers a little too far. In nearly every performance I’ve seen someone takes a spill. This time it was in The Waltz of the Flowers. It should be a breezy waltz, but the faces of some of the dancers look more stressed than relaxed as they move through the intricate patterns and sudden direction changes. On the other hand, the dreamy mood created by the swirling Snow Maidens, their Snow Queen (exquisitely performed by Xiao Nan Yu) and her Icicles lays proof to the old song from A Chorus Line about how “everything is beautiful at the ballet.”

Share this post


Link to post

A review of Ballet San Jose's Nutcracker by Mary Ellen Hunt in The San Francisco Chronicle.

It's Marie who essays the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in an odd interpolation just before the first-act battle scene. Ige's light jumps and delicate little hops - reminiscent of Mikhail Baryshnikov's choreography of this dance - sketch a sweet portrait of a girl on the cusp of maturity, even if the dance feels somewhat out of place in the first act.

Share this post


Link to post

Oklahoma City Ballet's Nutcracker breaks box office records in its fiftieth anniversary year.

In December 1963, the Oklahoma City Civic Ballet, under the artistic direction of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, performed “The Nutcracker”

ith the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra at the Municipal Auditorium (now the Civic Center).

American Ballet Theatre principal Maria Tallchief, who died April 11 at age 88, danced as the Sugar Plum Fairy in that initial production. Tallchief and Chouteau are counted among Oklahoma’s five famed American Indian ballerinas.

Share this post


Link to post

Marc Platt celebrates his 100th birthday.

"Marc, would you like something to eat?" his daughter Donna Platt asks, as her brother Michael and her own daughter Casey arrange the tables and greet guests.

"Are you kidding?" he says, with a wink. "Dancers are always hungry!"

Share this post


Link to post

Mary Helen Bowers promotes the benefits of ballet workouts during pregnancy.

Now that I'm pregnant I'm finding that staying fit and active is more important than ever. I've been doing a modified, prenatal version of Ballet Beautiful since the beginning of my pregnancy and am amazed by how strong and healthy it has made me feel. I've worked with many women through their pregnancies but experiencing it first hand has been very special.

Share this post


Link to post

Q&A with Davis Robertson.

When did you first join the Joffrey, and what were some of your favorite roles?

I was 20 when I joined the Joffrey Ballet and danced with the company from 1991 - 2003. My favorite roles were in Vaslav Nijinsky's Afternoon of A Faun, John Cranko's Taming of the Shrew and the Cavalier in Joffrey's Nutcracker. Each of these roles and ballets were technically challenging and artistically fulfilling. It made me push myself to fully embrace a theatrical character as well as a technical challenge.

Share this post


Link to post

A review of American Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker by Zachary Stewart for TheaterMania.

Dance-world political commentary aside, Ratmansky has created an irresistible Nutcracker that is sure to be enjoyed by all but the most jaded spectators. Richard Hudson's visually sumptuous costumes pop at every moment, from the terrifying seven-headed Mouse King to the five "Nutcracker's Sisters" (an invention of this production) with their pink top hats. As The Princess Clara and the Prince Nutcracker (the adult versions of Clara and her Nutcracker), Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes dazzle with their gravity-defying pas de deux, making this a perfect balance of creative innovation and classic technique.

Share this post


Link to post

A story on the Oakland Ballet Nutcracker's community ties by Carla Escoda in The Huffington Post.

Interestingly, British-born Lustig grew up never having seen a Nutcracker. (Christmas pantomime and ballets like Frederick Ashton's Les Patineurs and Cinderella were the more popular holiday fare.) Free from the spell of historic productions, Lustig went back to his Viennese roots for design inspiration: the paintings of Gustav Klimt, and the silver birches in the Snow scene, rather than the archetypal pine trees peppered with snow. The constraints of a small company dictated, for example, that he could only field eight snow maidens instead of the traditional army, so he peopled the Snow scene with youngsters costumed as snowballs. Beauty and humor go hand in hand as a multitude of roly-poly, rosy-cheeked children tumble around the stage at the feet of the glamorous, ethereal snow maidens.

Share this post


Link to post

A review of the Goh Ballet's Nutcracker by Janet Smith for Straight.com.

The company’s beloved, family-friendly Nutcracker had its wobbly moments on its opening Saturday matinee; even the nonstudent members of the program, the headlining Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince from the Royal Danish Ballet, nearly blew a lift and a landing. But there are so many treats stuffed under choreographer Anna-Marie Holmes’s sizable Christmas tree that it’s doubtful anyone noticed. The crowd, including the horde of little boys sitting around me, was having too much fun to care. In other words, no kids were squirming in their Sunday best—and that’s definitely not always the case at other Nutcrackers.

Share this post


Link to post

A review of Hamburg Ballet's Christmas Oratorio (John Neumeier) by Ilona Landgraf for her danceviewtimes blog:

John Neumeier recently extended his contract as head of the Hamburg Ballet and general manager of the Hamburg State Opera until 2019. In his tenure's final phase he has returned to Bach's “Christmas Oratorio”completing what he had begun in 2007 with the cho­re­o­gra­phy of parts I-III. With the en­tire “Christ­mas Ora­to­rio I-VI”, “Saint Matthew Passion” (1981) and “Magnificat” (1987) he has now come full circle: From the lost paradise to Maria as the chosen one, to Christ's incarnation and finally his crucifixion. Other religiously inspired works were “Requiem” (1991) set to Mozart and “Messiah” to music by George Frideric Handel and Arvo Pärt. Though a practicing Christian and strongly influenced by his long friendship with Jesuit Father John J. Walsh,(who led the drama group at Milwaukee's Marquette University, where Neumeier took up his studies as young man), Neumeier emphasizes that his choreographies are not religious undertakings. They're neither substitute services nor an attempt to proselytize. This piece's key topics are rather universal human values, basic emotional experiences and above all hope for salvation.

Share this post


Link to post

A look behind the scenes in the Royal Ballet's shoe department by Judith Mackrell in The Guardian.

It's Latimer's job (with the help of Bob Martin, who comes in occasionally to fit Bloch shoes) not only to ensure that every dancer finds her ideal shoe, but that the stock is kept replenished. A large company such as the Royal can get through 6,000-7,000 pairs a year, depending on the choice of ballets. A principal ballerina such as Marianela Núñez, who has very strong feet and dances an exceptionally demanding repertory, wears out her shoes after just one day, the papier-mache box too pummelled for further use.

Share this post


Link to post

A Northern Ballet video fashion show.

It [Cinderella] promises to be a ravishing production, and to celebrate its launch for the festive season, we have teamed up with Northern Ballet, in particular, dancers Maria and Olivia, and with Harvey Nichols Leeds, for a very special fashion shoot, set in the wonderfully decorated surroundings of Rudding Park Hotel, near Harrogate.

Share this post


Link to post