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NYCB Nutcracker- Kowroski & Askegard

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I saw the performance last night. As usual, it was thoroughly enjoyable and full of an audience of first time ballet goers, many of the young one screeching at the mice.

The opening act.

I'm not sure if the little playing Fritz (Ghaleb Kayali) had ever done the role before, but he was off in a big way. But endearing especially when Jason Fowler would pick him up and drag him away. Ojela Burkhard and Ryan Cardea were Marie and the Nephew. Both showed great poise and Cardea's was exceptional in his narrating of his story in the second act.

Lindy Mandradjieff and Sarah Ricard were the Harlequin and Columbine. I must admit, I was looking forward to seeing Madradjieff, especially after reading so much of the praise about her. But her Harlequin often had arms barely at angles and didn't seem in sync with Ricard.

Antonio Carmena was the Soldier. He had nice beats and the appropriate "stiffness" for the role. Snow was a nice mix of the new corps, I only recognized about 3 names out of all of them! They were exceptional, one of the best snows I've seen in a while.

Act II opened with Kowroski and the Sugarplum Variation. Kowroski always dances big and with renewed confidence. Her variation, while technically flawless, didn't have the warmth and lightness the role calls for. Some of the women, lead the Angels behind them, looking back to make sure they're following and give a smile (Tracey, Ringer, Whelan all do) but Kowroski doesn't, and the element of endearment is missed. The heavy hitting of her shoes didn't help. But again, technically perfect and her pas de deux with Askegard makes up for the variation. I've never seen a couple hit the music perfectly as they did last night. In the coda they seemed to be seeing who could dance bigger, both succeeded.

The "minor" roles in the ballet last night seemed to shine though.

Eva Natanya, Amanda Edge and Jennifer Tinsley as Hot Chocolate, Marzipan and Dewdrop, IMO stole the show. Natanya dances with such joy, she brought an elan to what otherwise could be a walk through it role. Edge brought a lightness to an often thankless role in Marzipan. her hops on pointe got stronger and she nailed all her turns. Backed by Alian Dronova, Mandradjieff, Elena Stein and Jamie Wolf. I couldn't tell if it was Dronova or Mandradjieff, but one of their headpieces was so far off on the side of their head, it was actually distracting.

Jennifer Tinsley, ever since coming back to NYCB after a break (it seems to be a habit with Jennifer's in that company!) dances far better than I ever remember her and surprises me every time out. She's not a commanding Dewdrop, but rather a subtle and just oozes the music.

And finally a special commendation to the young Polichenelles. They were outstanding! Martins should sign them all now before they get into any bad habits! They made you forget to look at Amar Ramasar (a rather blah Mother Ginger) but their lines were perfect and the smiles were big.

Overall, an enjoyable production and I look forward to the hopefully upcoming debuts. Usually towards the end some of the corps are given the plumb roles.

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Thanks very much for posting that, Calliope. It was especially interesting since you hit a cast with lots of young dancers. (I'm always very grateful to people who take the time to post such detailed reviews, and I'm sure the rest of us enjoy reading them, too.)

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That first variation must really be a killer. Of everyone this fall, Stafford was the strongest in it, but then she was weak in the grand pas. Trouble is to find someone who can do both, and Margaret Tracey comes about the closest to that, although she's not the strongest in either.

How right you are Calliope about Snow looking good. At yesterday's matinee, the first foursome (the snow corps tends to divides into four groups of four, then two groups of eight) was comprised of Elizabeth Walker, Megan Fairchild, Elena Stein and Martine Ciccone. What an unbelieveable treat. Four such beautifully matched (with Fairchild and Stein being dark and Walker and Ciccone fair) and beautifully trained women, all in the same style, and all such knockout turners -- imagine Megan Fairchild and Elizabeth Walker doing those first series of chainee turns to either corner of the stage, so centered and musical, both of them. And the next foursome was led by Ashley Bouder and Jamie Wolf. Actually, there are two corps groups for snow, and they're not always this good.

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On the subject of Maria Kowrowski...I caught the end of her interview on A&E's Breakfast With the Arts this morning and was very impressed. She is very articulate (not to mention gorgeous), and seemed quite comfortable with the interview.


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I caught the interview this morning, but admit to falling asleep during the Swedish Ballet's Nutcracker. Good thing I have TiVo!

Maria talked about being Barbie and they showed some of the footage of her done up in electrode sensors. I haven't seen Barbie in the Nutcracker, but she said she only danced for 5 mintues total.

She talked about being promoted and how it occured and reading press articles about her (after the season because she's too busy during) and then her popularity sinking in.

Her beginnings at the YMCA and then Grand Rapids Ballet and then she talked about being injured and how every injury is a lesson to learn.

I agree sneds, she seemed poised and comfortable in front of a television camera.

Some dancers have a hard time speaking in public domains, which is understandable seeing as the emote through their bodies, but Maria seemed quite as ease and poised for someone so young. A true ambassador for the company.

She did mention the roles she's be doing in Nutcracker, Sugarplumb, Dewdrop and Arabian and how Mozartiana, she hopes to do that later in the season, that being a dream role and having done it before.

Has she done Arabian lately? I don't recall if I've ever seen her do it.

It was a good interview though.

This upcoming Tuesday Jennie Somogyi is on Good Morning America, I don't think they do an interview, but they may.

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