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Neumeier's Nutcracker w Semionova live streaming

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Did anyone else watch this on the web? I'd never seen Neumeier's version before, and found it intriguing. Clara dreams of being a ballerina, and the usual fight between toy soldiers and mice disappears, to be replaced by a large corps of dancers in long white tutus at ballet barres. He also interpolated some music I had never heard before, although it was at least consistent in style and mood with the familiar score.

The screen drove me crazy. When they were at the back of the stage, we could usually see everything head to toe, but if they were near the front, even principals would be cut off at the waist! Cutting off feet for most dancers was the norm. Very strange. I watched it on a moderately large laptop screen and could not find any adjustments for screen size. Was it a problem with camera work or screen size for the transmission? Did others have this problem?

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I watched the stream and had similar problems to you, California. Not to mention that the stream constantly froze, although for the Grand pas and latter part of Act II it was steady.

I liked the production more than I thought I would. In the ballet, Drosselmeyer is the ballet instructor for Clara/Marie's sister, Louise, so he has a big role with lots of dancing all throughout the evening. Tigran Mikayelyan was a very charismatic Drosselmeyer, and Katherina Markowjskaya and Polina Semionova were lovely as Marie and Louise, respectively. The corps work was sloppy at times and there was a botched press lift from one the couples at the end of a divertissement, but the performance was largely well-danced and the production was entertaining. An interesting aspect of the production is the Grand pas, as Louise and her cavalier dance the pas de deux, but Marie actually dances the traditional Sugar Plum variation and not Louise. Thus, Neumeier choreographed an additional variation for Louise set to music of the oft-omitted Cinderella divertissement from Sleeping Beauty. I love the Cinderella music and am always so sad that it gets cut from most productions of Beauty, so this was a nice surprise for me that it was added here!

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An interesting aspect of the production is the Grand pas, as Louise and her cavalier dance the pas de deux, but Marie actually dances the traditional Sugar Plum variation and not Louise.

I wonder how many other productions split the music or assign it to characters other than the SPF? In Kent Stowell's choreography for Pacific Northwest Ballet the music is assigned to Clara and the Nutcracker Prince (danced by adults), and it is spread out through the act.

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Balanchine's does: Marie and the Nephew/Nutcracker/Little Prince are danced by the same children as in Act I. The Sugar Plum Fairy is the head of the Kingdom of Sweets, eventually joined by a Cavalier for the Grand Pas de Deux.

From the revision history in the Balanchine Catalogue, it looks like the original Pas de Deux from 1954 had the SPF and Cavalier's solos in the traditional spot after the opening adagio:

1958, GRAND PAS DE DEUX (Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, End of Act II), replaced by PAS DE CINQ with Cavalier omitted and Sugar Plum Fairy supported in adagio by men from CHOCOLATE, COFFEE, TEA, CANDY CANES; variation for Sugar Plum Fairy moved to beginning of Act II from traditional placement at the climax of GRAND PAS DE DEUX; 1959, adagio and coda of GRAND PAS DE DEUX restored with Cavalier, replacing PAS DE CINQ, but without variation for Cavalier; Sugar Plum Fairy variation retained at the beginning of Act II.

Coffee at the time was a "hookah-smoking nobleman fanned by four parrots, rechoreographed as a solo for a woman" (in 1964).

Has anyone seen the Playhouse 90 performance on CBS? It's also listed for 1958, and I wonder if Balanchine made the 1958 changes for the TV cameras and/or audience, and then reverted back for the stage, at the same time leaving out the male variation from the coda. Did anyone see NYCB perform the four-man support team version? Was it at all like the Rose Adagio? It must have been very colorful: those costumes are fantastic.

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