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Nutcracker 2004

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I attended the December 4th matinee performance of the Nutcracker. Since they decided to be lazy this time and not print full casting in the Playbill, the casting went as follows, if my eyes didn’t fail me (sometimes I just can’t differentiate one from the other, you know?):

The dolls where fine, but the only one I could make out was Bridgett Zehr, who danced the female Harlequin (the male is masked, and I couldn’t see below the brims’ of the hats of the Soldier and Soldier’s companion). Zehr also caught my eye as one of the corps girls in the Waltz of the Flowers. I don’t like how Clara (danced by Laura Richards, me thinks) prances around Snow while they’re performing. It disrupts the gorgeous patterns, and the corps looked very clean and together today. Kristina Harper stole the show as Snow Queen with her charming presence, her delicate phrasing and innate musicality which all added up to that something extra, what we like to call “ballerina polish” or “perfume.” Her technique may not be the strongest among the females in the company- I detected a fall off of pointe and a slight partnering flub- but it doesn’t matter. The ever giving partner, Konvalina, was the Prince. He later danced with Leticia Oliveira, the Sugar Plum Fairy. Oliveira with her solid technique held those balances with ease and pulled off a series of fouettes alternating between singles and doubles. She is as dazzling as ever. Sara Webb made a surprisingly sexy Arabian dancer; she’s one of those I’ve always considered to be pretty demure. Those death-defying backbends (done with her lifted into the air by her partner, feet touching head) drew oohs and aahs from the crowd. Lead of the Flowers, Lauren Anderson and Caleb Mitchell, was uninspiring, especially after watching the Dewdrop clips of Sof Sylve from the Peter Wright Sleeping Beauty dvd last night (I know, two very different pieces of choreography, but still). Anderson still draws some of the biggest cheers from the audience, though. Gopak was in fine form, but I didn’t know who the dancer was (I have my guesses but don’t feel like sharing). The Mirlitons pas de trois was wonderfully danced by Carl Coomer, Michelle Carpenter (?), and Lisa Kaczmarek, whom I thought especially good. I really enjoyed Kaczmarek in last season’s Ketubah, and I’m sure it will be a treat to see her as SPF, which she’s scheduled to dance on Dec 20th (I’m missing out on all this great casting!).

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