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support your local Nutcracker

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I don't know what category this goes in, but I'm curious, how many of you will see your local community's Nutcracker this year?

I've just come in from mine at Berkeley Ballet Theater, and I have to say, I had a WONDERFUL time -- the milk and cookie soldiers were marvelous, Clara moved me, the Chinese dance was fantastic (two girls on pointe from level 6, I guess, with those ribbons on sticks that Chinese folk dancers use, and they do pirouettes and releve ballonees in efface while whipping those ribbons around, and then run around bending over at the waist, doing the real Chinese posture, and it all is SO musical, and they're having such fun; the Marzipan shepherdess, who's really funny, was totally entertaining and cracked me up -- there's a kind of pleasure in it that I don't get from the REAL Nutcracker in the Opera House (which I also love).

I LIKE seeing people I know dressed up in costumes; there's a kind of pleasure in it that makes you feel the community, lets you feel the passage of time without being too scared by it. It's a kind of entertainment that's like having company over, you hold something in common, you're invested in them, and it makes you feel less all alone.

Quite a few of these girls are graduating this year and will be in college next fall, this is Rebecca's and Kate's and Sonja's chance to be Sugar Plum, next year they'll be gone. Rebecca's Sugar Plum is about epaulement, head positions, eyes -- she has a way of raising her eyes at hte bottom of her 4th arabesque penchee that is a VERY big deal -- whereas Kate's is not so inflected, hers is more about the way being on-stage makes her feel happy and generous and like stepping out big and entertaining us -- she has huge extensions and majesty in pirouettes -- well, she's a VERY tall girl and a natural turner, so majesty is her mode. They both looked amazingly confident, considering how hard Ivanov's choreography is....

(I've seen tapes of Markova -- whose attack and lines were marvellous, but she wasn't all that much more secure technically, and she certainly couldn't turn as well as Kate.)

It's a pleasure seeing children develop mastery -- so seeing it as it grows is sometimes more ofa revelation than seeing the totally developed thing -- there were moments in hte waltz of hte flowers -- well, I felt I saw Sarah bloom as she did a porte de bras, it was VERY flower-like. the technique was perfect, but that was so completely not the point, it was just natural, musical phrasing that was completely supported by the music; her beauty made me glad.

Anybody else had experiences like these? Please share.....

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I heartily agree, Paul. Local productions are an absolute joy, complete with overacting parent amatuers and beyond cute children caught up in the thrill of performance. I also welcome the opportunity to let go of my critical judgement, and just sit back and smile. It's a kind of community theatre that makes one feel the human warmth of the season.



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My daughter is in a local Nutcracker for the third time this year, and I appreciate your sentiments!

I'm racking up my Nutcracker viewings, having seen the production she was in the first two years a total of five times (different parts in different casts necessitated seeing it twice each year, plus the first time to check it out), and this will make the third time I've seen the production she's in this year (at Walnut Hill).

For children, the "prestige" seems to come with dancing in a professional Nutcracker, but I enjoy these performances which are more of a family/community affair --

and we don't have to worry about taped music and whether the house will be full....

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