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Washington Ballet's Nutcracker


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#1 The Bard's Ballerina

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 10:57 AM

A friend and I had our annual Washington Ballet Nutcracker outing this past Saturday evening. I have to say that I think this year was by far the best performance we've seen in the 5 or so years that we've been coming. The performances were delightful all around and the dancing was of the highest quality, from the Washington School of Ballet students who made up the corps (Victoria -- they really looked terrific) to the radiant Michele Jimenez as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Jason Hartley's exuberance was perfect for the lead candy cane, and Brianne Bland, Laura Urgelles, Jon Jordan, and Boris Serebrykov had clearly taken the time to coordinate the details and timing in the Waltz of the Flowers.

One very notable addition to the company is Richard Krocil, who danced the Snow Prince to Carmen Ramos' regal Snow Queen. Richard is tall, with a very princely aspect, and fabulous jumps with great ballon. A single grand jete seems to cover the entire stage.

The only bad note of the evening came from the Warner Theatre's very bad policy of seating latecomers. Most of our row arrived a good 15 minutes into the party scene and then took another 5 minutes to get themselves settled. Grrrr....

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for that, Bards B. I thought the company looked better this year, too.

I have to chuckle about your complaint about the latecomers. I had the same reaction. There was one guy -- huge, looked like a linebacker who kept walking up the aisle, and after the third time, I seriously considered tripping him! And it's not only the latecomers, but the little kids who decide they have to go to the bathroom as soon as the dancing starts. smile.gif

#3 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 12:43 PM

Thank you for the positive words about our Nuts, Bard and Alexandra! smile.gif I too think it is better this year, but then it's hard to know about my objectivity since I'm way too close to it. But it has been going well, and all three of our Grand Pas casts are lovely. Briane Bland is a delightful Sugarplum, and Laura Urgelles is very lovely too.

Glad you noticed Richard Krocil, Bard! I think he is quite elegant, and has enormous potential. Extension, feet, and a jump to die for. Weakness is in turns, with that beautiful long line but not a solid enough center for multiple pirouettes. Some of that is confidence, though, and I think that is already improving during this run. He did a very nice Grand Pas last night. He has the European manners of a real Prince. He is from Moravia, actually, and just came to this country last month. He dances Grand Pas with Laura, and also Flowers couples as well as Snow Pas.

I agree about the audience problems, but then, it's Nuts, and of course there will always be lots of very young children there. I do have to object to those who bring infants, however, as they can be very disruptive. We had several at the second show yesterday. Parents were in and out all the time when they started to get fussy. Never a good idea to take a baby to any kind of performance. We have also had the occassional cell phone, and people trying to take photos, with flash of course. frown.gif

#4 Guest_Auvi_*

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 07:44 PM

I saw it this weekend, also. better since last year. Last year it was all mechanical energy, static, it just did not go anywhere. This year, we have a cast that actualy wans to perform the show. For some reason, the performance seemed a bit longer than the first time I saw it, which was wonderful.

Brianne Blande was interesting. (Or, atleast I hope it was her. The programs... five or six names are listed without dates or anything, which is quite annoying when writing up a review.) She performed with some truoble, but she seemed to enjoy performing. I think it was Elizabeth Weisenberg (or was that who I saw last year), who performed Clara. Her dancing was wonderful, and energetic. It's nice how at TWB they put Clara's hair up, instead of leaving it down in other productions. Richard Krocil was
a lot of fun as the Snow King. He extends his body rather than throwing out a hand to his partner.

I still miss the choir during the "Waltz of the Snowflakes", and the battle scene still confuses me when the Star on the tree comes down and dances. However, it is a wonderful production. It is the best of al Washington Nutcrackers. This Saturday, I am going to see the Maryland Youth Ballet's Nutcracker, which I have never seen before. I am also headed for NYCB on the twenty 6th, and the Pennsylania Ballet of Philadeplhia (my hometown) on the 23rd, I think. I'll leave reviws up for them. smile.gif

Warner theatre's policies don't really bug me too much. However, the drinking thing gets anoying. someone spilled coffee in the our row during intermission. Blah!

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 08:54 PM

Thanks for that review, Auvi -- I do hope you'll report on the other Nutcrackers you see, especially Pennsylvania Ballet, which hardly ever gets covered on this board.

I saw Maryland Youth Ballet a few years ago and what impressed me was not only the number of boys they had, but that they had good roles for several boys. They had a young ballerina at that time, but she's graduated now, so I'll be interested to hear who the new crop of dancers are.

#6 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 17 December 2001 - 11:47 PM

Auvi, Elizabeth Wisenberg was a Clara last year, and also Star. This year she is too tall for Clara! eek.gif She is dancing Star at almost all of the performances, and is also in Chinese, Flutes, and Flowers. I think the Clara you saw was Puanani Brown. Very tiny, with dark hair and beautiful feet?

#7 Guest_Auvi_*

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 03:30 PM

Oh. I'm sorry. Yes, the Clara I saw did have wonderful movements as to feet, and her hair was darker than I've seen in the past - but not too noticeable under that somewhat garrish spotlight. It must have been Ms. Brown. If that was Weisenberg who danced the star, she has progressed since the boppy little girl I saw last year.

Yes, I was also surprised not to see very much on the PA Ballet, here, especialy since it is such an extroardinary company, and fairly well known. The MD Youth Ballet seems to be stealing the boys away from other area schools, if what you say is true. But, that's a good thing to hear that we have a strong male lead of young dancers for the future.

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 18 December 2001 - 07:34 PM

Auvi, I have no reason to believe Maryland Youth Ballet is stealing boys from other schools, just that they have a successful recruiting program for boys. There's safety in numbers -- I think that's part of it. If the program is the same as in years past, there will be a photo of all the boys. I think that, alone, may be the added push one little kid, dragged to his sister's recital and suddenly excited by seeing other children on stage, may need.

#9 Guest_Auvi_*

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Posted 19 December 2001 - 07:38 PM

Well, yes. I just meant that the MYB is beeing very successful in recruiting boys, while other companies, like the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and National Ballet are not as successful in this plight. but as long as these guys are IN a ballet class in more than enough.


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