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jessa_sissonne

Nutcracker 2017

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Hi Everyone,

I was just wondering if you all have been attending the Nutcracker and if you've seen any good castings or performances by new corps members or apprentices. I won't be attending this year - tickets are just too much!

Jessa

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I attended the performance on Nov. 27. Sterling Hyltin and Andy Veyette were a wonderful SPF and Cavalier, Megan LeCrone was rather disappointing as Dewdrop, and Emily Kikta's Coffee was FINALLY the jolt of caffeine this variation needed after so many middling performances I've seen in recent years. She was sensuous and sexy and even did the harder bent leg pirouettes in the finale rather than the renverses. Her rather curvy body was a definite boost as was her height -- she most resembled Gloria Govrin. 

ETA: I actually have four more performances. Yeah,  I know.

Edited by canbelto

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1 hour ago, yukionna4869 said:

I was also planning on going, but got sticker shock. I mean, $100 for the 4th ring?!

I also wanted to go this year, but decided I just can't stomach the prices. It's a bit much!

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It's been a long time since I've been to NYCB's "Nutcracker," but is it a show where it's likely that parents will leave after intermission and cede their ticket to someone to see the second half of the show?

 

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28 minutes ago, Helene said:

It's been a long time since I've been to NYCB's "Nutcracker," but is it a show where it's likely that parents will leave after intermission and cede their ticket to someone to see the second half of the show?

 

No if anything many people only show up for the second act because that's where most of the dancing occurs. And plenty of children are in the second act (the Angels, the Candy Canes, the Polichinelles) so there's just as many parents in the second act.

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4 hours ago, canbelto said:

No if anything many people only show up for the second act because that's where most of the dancing occurs. And plenty of children are in the second act (the Angels, the Candy Canes, the Polichinelles) so there's just as many parents in the second act.

So agree canbelto. Balanchine was smart that way! 

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20 minutes ago, vipa said:

So agree canbelto. Balanchine was smart that way! 

And one of the things I love about going to Nut performances is hearing little kids insistently ask their parents when a beloved moment is coming up. One girl once said "but where are the candy canes? I want to see the candy canes!" the entire performance and shrieked in delight when they finally came on. Also heard love for the "big lady" and also "the couple in green." 

I think Balanchine's Nut is great because it engenders this kind of love in kids. Of all the Nuts I've ever seen this is still the most kid-friendly Nutcracker.

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The NYCB did two morning performances this week for NYC public school students.  This is an annual activity of the NYCB Education department. There were 2300 students at Tuesday’s performance, filling the theater up through the entire 4th ring.  Most of the children seemed to be no more than 9 or 10 years old, and their enthusiasm was delightful to witness—audible gasps, laughter, applause at unlikely places, etc.  I’m sure it is very gratifying for the cast.  Indiana Woodward was a beautiful SPF on Tuesday, and Taylor Stanley her elegant Cavalier; Erica Periera was a serviceable Dewdrop.  Lauren Lovette posted her excitement about performing on Wed. on her instagram account earlier this week.  

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I originally planned a very short trip to see Angela Meade in Bellini's Norma at the Met and one NYCB Nutcracker, but my partner wanted to go along, so I made it a week trip and bought us both tickets to a second Nutcracker (he didn't go to the other shows). I told him he could fill the other nights with plays or musicals (what he likes) because he complained I usually fill up the vacation with a ballet or opera every single night. However, he decided he wanted us to have casual leisurely evenings at dinners instead. I was fine with that too and let him choose the places. In the past I have dominated what we do on vacations, and he has complained and tends to stay home nowadays, so this trip I let him decide everything besides the Norma and the Nutcrackers.

Angela Meade, btw, while not perfect for Norma, is 100 times better than Sondra Radvanovsky (the first cast and Opening Night Norma). I continue to be amazed at how so many knowledgeable opera fans rave about her in this role. Her coloratura is so sloppy and her acting is goofy. I do not see any positives in her in this particular role. To me she "gets through it" but bel canto it is not. Angela Meade comes closer to having all the goods, although her pianissimi, as lovely as they are, seem totally disconnected from the rest of her voice as if she has to switch gears to achieve them. I was pleasantly surprised that she could be fiery and commanding (I thought that would be her weak point). Wasn't 100% happy with the moments she took breaths during Casta Diva, but overall this was a decent Norma. The cast reminded me that opera has to be heard live......hearing the sounds reach your ear from the stage is so much better than HD.

As for the Nutcrackers, I absolutely loved Tiler Peck's Dewdrop. Oh, my God!!!!! Her chaine turns that speed up so much at the end right before going into the wings.......STUNNING!!!!! To me she stole the show. Her off balance balances were amazing. Tess Reichlen, on the next night, was more regal in the role and exciting in her own way too. Loved her attitudes. Sara Mearns was a very dramatic Sugarplum Fairy and I liked her a lot in it using very dramatic arm gestures when falling back in the cavalier's arms or making many other moves. In contrast, I also loved the super sweet Megan Fairchild who was a more dainty and cute Sugarplum Fairy on the next night.

Did not have time to post until now (back in Florida) b/c we were walking around window shopping and doing things like One World Center.....DON'T GO!!!!!! The restaurant at the top is nice (very good cauliflower risotto but overpriced) and the view was great, but the rest of it feels like endless lines and photo opportunities and a big sell for some ipad to help identify buildings and to get photos.....it felt like a huge scam......it was like Disney World. The memorial pools are very touching and moving outside and those are free. I was in NY weeks after the original towers went down (I think to see Jane Eaglen in Norma....just realized that), and it was blocked off and still smouldering, and I have not gone down that way on recent trips, but it was nice to see that it has become a huge thriving tourist attraction (so no longer just a tragedy), but I advise people to skip One World Center and just look at the memorial pools. That is my personal feeling. I feel the pools are simple but sad and contemplative.

 

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Week 5 of casting is up. New Dewdrops: Woodward, Miller, and Kretzschmar. Still no sign of Ashley Laracey. Hope she returns for the winter season. 

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So I saw Nutcracker last night. I've seen Nut countless times over the past five or so years, finding it magical throughout repeated viewings, but last night struck me as a little lackluster. Lines and formations were ragged, and it was lacking in spirit and snap. I wonder if the uncertainty at the top is straining morale and affecting performances. The highlights were the very polished Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier (Hyltin and Veyette) and the astonishing Dewdrop of Tiler Peck. (Though she stumbled at one point - I've never seen her falter before.) Little Aaron Plous gave a wonderfully committed and vivid mime sequence. And Unity Phelan (Flowers) is so beautiful, as a person and as a dancer, that it almost hurts. The lowlight was Megan LeCrone's Coffee; the phrase "phoning it in" comes to mind. I have another performance lined up next week. Bought my tickets in advance without knowing the casting, and it turns out I will see Tiler's Dewdrop twice! That's almost as good as winning the lottery. 

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51 minutes ago, cobweb said:

So I saw Nutcracker last night. I've seen Nut countless times over the past five or so years, finding it magical throughout repeated viewings, but last night struck me as a little lackluster. Lines and formations were ragged, and it was lacking in spirit and snap. I wonder if the uncertainty at the top is straining morale and affecting performances. The highlights were the very polished Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier (Hyltin and Veyette) and the astonishing Dewdrop of Tiler Peck. (Though she stumbled at one point - I've never seen her falter before.) Little Aaron Plous gave a wonderfully committed and vivid mime sequence. And Unity Phelan (Flowers) is so beautiful, as a person and as a dancer, that it almost hurts. The lowlight was Megan LeCrone's Coffee; the phrase "phoning it in" comes to mind. I have another performance lined up next week. Bought my tickets in advance without knowing the casting, and it turns out I will see Tiler's Dewdrop twice! That's almost as good as winning the lottery. 

I was at the performance last night and I agree that there were some mishaps (perhaps most shocking was Tiler slipping and actually falling off pointe). But I thought that overall the performance level was still high -- Harrison Coll as Candy Cane, Sterling Hyltin and Andrew Veyette as SPF and Cavalier, and the dancing of the SAB students was wonderful. The lowlight for me was the Tea variation. It's been this way all season -- this is my 4th Nutcracker.

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

I was at the performance last night and I agree that there were some mishaps (perhaps most shocking was Tiler slipping and actually falling off pointe). 

I recall that Balanchine never minded when dancers fell off point or fell generally. To him it meant that they were giving their all (and then some) to the performance.

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Heather Watts, in her interview with Conversations on Dance, mentioned that she's coaching Peck to be even more daring (since Tiler is just too good, her words). Peck might be reaching an even higher level of artistry if that's even possible.

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15 minutes ago, angelica said:

I recall that Balanchine never minded when dancers fell off point or fell generally. To him it meant that they were giving their all (and then some) to the performance.

I saw Tiler Peck take a big fall in her Aurora's entrance in SB & I've seen Ashley Bouder fall a couple of times. I don't view those falls the way I do failing to complete turns, or coming off pointe etc.

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47 minutes ago, Emma said:

Heather Watts, in her interview with Conversations on Dance, mentioned that she's coaching Peck to be even more daring (since Tiler is just too good, her words). Peck might be reaching an even higher level of artistry if that's even possible.

 

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I was at tonight's performance. It was actually a tense, rather joyless performance. Indiana Woodward in particular looked nervous and constrained which is unusual. She's usually so energetic and bubbly. Understandable but for the first time I felt like the dancers were just getting through the ballet. There are exceptions: Tess's Dewdrop was gorgeous, Emily Kikta's Coffee continues to amaze and she still is the only one I've seen in so long to do those bent leg pirouettes in the finale, and the Marie and Prince (Maria Kashvili and Tenzin Niles) were a sadder, more soulful pairing than the other Marie/Prince. 

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7 hours ago, Emma said:

Heather Watts, in her interview with Conversations on Dance, mentioned that she's coaching Peck to be even more daring (since Tiler is just too good, her words). Peck might be reaching an even higher level of artistry if that's even possible.

I might wish Tiler Peck could go back in a time machine and coach Heather Watts...but the other way round?  I suppose coaching is its own separate skill and in this case...I hope so.

(Over the years I've been a Martins defender--with caveats--but maybe soon it will become possible to have a Farrell coach the Tiler Pecks of the company.)

Edited by Drew

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5 hours ago, Drew said:

I might wish Tiler Peck could go back in a time machine and coach Heather Watts...but the other way round?  I suppose coaching is its own separate skill and in this case...I hope so.

(Over the years I've been a Martins defender--with caveats--but maybe soon it will become possible to have a Farrell coach the Tiler Pecks of the company.)

Oh, how I wish Suzanne would return to the company in some important way!! Tiler is just so great! 

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6 hours ago, canbelto said:

I was at tonight's performance. It was actually a tense, rather joyless performance. Indiana Woodward in particular looked nervous and constrained which is unusual. She's usually so energetic and bubbly. Understandable but for the first time I felt like the dancers were just getting through the ballet. There are exceptions: Tess's Dewdrop was gorgeous, Emily Kikta's Coffee continues to amaze and she still is the only one I've seen in so long to do those bent leg pirouettes in the finale, and the Marie and Prince (Maria Kashvili and Tenzin Niles) were a sadder, more soulful pairing than the other Marie/Prince. 

To this and cobweb's comment about the performances,  I'm sure everyone is feeling demoralized and uncertain, given the Martins news. Best thing that could happen is for an interim director to be appointed immediately for leadership needs and whoever assumes AD permanently is well-chosen and a great fit, and not hastily installed as a reaction to this shake-up. 

Edited by KarenAG
Clarification

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On 12/6/2017 at 10:58 AM, Birdsall said:

 

As for the Nutcrackers, I absolutely loved Tiler Peck's Dewdrop. Oh, my God!!!!! Her chaine turns that speed up so much at the end right before going into the wings.......STUNNING!!!!! To me she stole the show. Her off balance balances were amazing. Tess Reichlen, on the next night, was more regal in the role and exciting in her own way too. Loved her attitudes. Sara Mearns was a very dramatic Sugarplum Fairy and I liked her a lot in it using very dramatic arm gestures when falling back in the cavalier's arms or making many other moves. In contrast, I also loved the super sweet Megan Fairchild who was a more dainty and cute Sugarplum Fairy on the next night.

 

 

 

6 hours ago, canbelto said:

I was at tonight's performance. It was actually a tense, rather joyless performance. Indiana Woodward in particular looked nervous and constrained which is unusual. She's usually so energetic and bubbly. Understandable but for the first time I felt like the dancers were just getting through the ballet. There are exceptions: Tess's Dewdrop was gorgeous, Emily Kikta's Coffee continues to amaze and she still is the only one I've seen in so long to do those bent leg pirouettes in the finale, and the Marie and Prince (Maria Kashvili and Tenzin Niles) were a sadder, more soulful pairing than the other Marie/Prince. 

Hi Birdsall and canbelto! My first live NYCB Nutcracker (2011?) had Tiler Peck dancing Dewdrop and she was the highlight for me, in a Nutcracker performance that really blew me away overall.  She was stunning then so I am happy to hear these reports. I would LOVE to see Sterling in SPF - she is so tiny and exquisite. And Tess as Dewdrop, too, I'm sure is a treat. 

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38 minutes ago, KarenAG said:

Oh, how I wish Suzanne would return to the company in some important way!! Tiler is just so great! 

As I think about it more, the timing couldn't be better for Suzanne to come on board to serve a critical need, coaching or otherwise. 

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As much as I love the idea of Suzanne returning, is it too late for those amends? NYCB administration severed ties with her over 20 years ago. I love her work, (very excited to see her company tonight at the KC) but though she is demonstrably capable of breathing new life into Balanchine's works, can she foster the new creative talent that NYCB has become a beacon for? My hope for a new AD would to have a good combination of both, though I would like to see more Mr. B in the rep. 

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11 hours ago, Drew said:

I might wish Tiler Peck could go back in a time machine and coach Heather Watts...but the other way round?  I suppose coaching is its own separate skill and in this case...I hope so.

(Over the years I've been a Martins defender--with caveats--but maybe soon it will become possible to have a Farrell coach the Tiler Pecks of the company.)

Watts was a very good Dewdrop. She was good in a lot of stuff, and some of that stuff was roles that one mightn't have expected to suit her talents, such as Midsummer's Divertissement pas de deux. (I certainly preferred her to Merrill Ashley in that role.) Like Kistler, she was allowed to dance for too long, and her final years tarnished how we tend to remember her.

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