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Pennsylvania Ballet's Nutcracker

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For anyone that has not seen PAB's new Nutcracker, it is a MUST see this Holiday season. The new sets and costume are absolutely gorgeous and the dancing was better then ever.

I went to the 12pm performance today and the highlights for me were Gabriella Yudenich as Sugar Plum, Barette Vance as Dew Drop and Rebecca Azenberg as Marzipan Shepardess. Even though Gabriella and Barette were making their debuts in these roles one would have thought that they had performed these roles many times over. All three dancers were very confident and technically strong.

Gabriella's rendition of Sugar Plum was both graceful and radiant. She was lovely and lit up the stage as she boureed into the Land of Sweets. Her strength and confidence was apparent as she executed every move with secure technique and elegance.

Barette Vance danced Dew Drop both effortlessly and gracely. Light on her feet, she floated through the air like a feather and seemed to have sustained balance on every move. She appeared etherial and the way she danced through each step demonstrated her extreme musicality.

Demonstrating excellent technique and strength Rebecca Azenberg shined in the role of Marzipan Shepardess. She nailed every turn and jump and gave a charming performance.

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I had the opportunity to attend most of the 6 performances on opening weekend. I , also, enjoyed the new sets and costumes. They are a major improvement. A few of them would not have been my choice, like the lead candy cane costume, but the others are very attractive. The new sets are much nicer.

As for the dancing, WOW! PA Ballet keeps getting better and better. I have long been a fan of the younger dancers in the company. They are really coming into their own now and it is so much fun to watch. My favorite dancer to watch over the last few years has been ,without a doubt, Gabriella Yudenich. I was so thrilled at her promotion to soloist this year. Richly deserved and it makes it more likely that we will get to see her dance in great roles this year and years to come. Gaby performed her first Sugar Plum that weekend and was so elegant. She has great control, can hold balances beautifully and has such exquisite movement quality. I just adore her dancing. Another first Sugar Plum performance for Abi Mentzer. Abi was also gorgeous in the role. She looked confident and radiant throughout her performance. Loved her smile. It is so wonderful to see the young ones raising the bar. Some new additions to the company were also wonders to watch. Brook Moore has joined the company from San Francisco Ballet. She danced demi-Flowers, Dew Drop and Arabian in some of the shows that I saw. She is also an amazing dancer. She would be new to the Balanchine Nutcracker but didn't miss a beat. I loved her Dew Drop. She is a great addition to the company.

I look forward to seeing greater and greater things from PA Ballet. Don't miss the chance to see this great company!

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