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MCB Nutcracker 2014.


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I came to this production some 13 years ago full of animosity at having to give up my old "after Fedorova" Nut from Cuba. Yes, I still miss the Ivanov Fee Dragee PDD, the Snow Queen and King, the three Ivans, and, believe it or not, the mice on pointe. But Balanchine's is superb. This year I concentrated more in Act I, usually so neglected in the Cuban version in favor of all the pointe work of the snow scene and all of Act II. I looked and much enjoyed the little accents of the party goers, the maids, and the highly choreographed children's evolutions. If anything, I would suggest to give them a little more of a free will to do. Even the sequence of Frau Stahlbaum looking for and reaching a sleeping Clara, along that wonderful violin solo borrowed from SB was an eye opener this time. Anyhow...then came the glorious Snow Scene, and I was in my realm. I really like the fact that, compared to NYCB, the speed of the Snow and Flowers is faster...so the accents are sharper.

Sugar Plum was Tricia Albertson, who looked somewhat tired. Her cavalier was Reyneris Reyes. Both are veterans, and it is starting to show, but they still danced beautifully. Candy Cane lead was a wonderful Kleber Rebello...all fire and speed. Arabian was the sensual Callie Manning on first night and leggy, very stylized Jordan Elizabeth Long on the second-(kuddos Miss Long!). The show was stolen by a fierce J. Delgado as Dewdrop, very much in the LeClerq vs. Tallchief original fashion-("now let's see who the real star is here...!")

A wonderful night.

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Ah...what a wonderful performance. I still get amused by the evolutions of the children in Act I. Like the way little Clara plays a very proper hostess role by taking great care at gathering her friends' capes just to quickly pass them to the maids. It occurs to me that this is probably what Balanchine was used to as a kid while growing up in czarist Russia. Every time I see Act I and feel its wonderful vintage Christmas feeling, I feel nostalgic for a time that has gone by...when things were simpler, less electronic but probably more family oriented. I wonder if this type of celebrations are still somehow in vogue here in America. I just came back from a 5 days returning trip to Cuba, and I saw there's still no Christmas celebration there. Such a shame.

From Act II I paid more attention tonight to the Salome-like Arabian dance. Oh...Balanchine's version certainly gives one a brake from the controrsionists of the world usual display in this divertissement. Flowers were amazing, with a great leading Dewdrop danced by Leigh Ann Esty. Zoe Zien was scheduled to dance it, and I was really looking forward to it, but Esty made up for it big time. Another highlight of the night was the Grand Pas. I don't have the names of the dancers-(some new debutantes)-but as soon as I retrieve my programme from my car I will add them here.

House was packed, and people were cheering.

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I'm awake with insomnia, just read Cubanaboy's updated review. Will be interesting to see what happens to Cuba in the new year with the new opening of US-Cuban government connections, via Pope Francis. Perhaps Christmas (at least the holy night) may return to Cuba. When I was in South America I found it wasn't nearly as big of a deal as the American version, it was celebrated more along the lines of the American 4th of July (family & friends got together for Asadas followed by nighttime fireworks). just too warm in December for much else.

Cuba is already open to the rest of the world, but the local reforms haven't really come fast enough. Hopefully new blood in leadership (some day soon!) for both government and arts - especially ballet - will lead to fresh thinking in Cuba. Wouldn't it be great if the US State Dept gave MCB funds to tour Nut in Cuba?

Feliz Navidad!

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I'm awake with insomnia, just read Cubanaboy's updated review. Will be interesting to see what happens to Cuba in the new year with the new opening of US-Cuban government connections, via Pope Francis. Perhaps Christmas (at least the holy night) may return to Cuba. When I was in South America I found it wasn't nearly as big of a deal as the American version, it was celebrated more along the lines of the American 4th of July (family & friends got together for Asadas followed by nighttime fireworks). just too warm in December for much else.

Cuba is already open to the rest of the world, but the local reforms haven't really come fast enough. Hopefully new blood in leadership (some day soon!) for both government and arts - especially ballet - will lead to fresh thinking in Cuba. Wouldn't it be great if the US State Dept gave MCB funds to tour Nut in Cuba?

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad, Jayne! With the permission of the mods, I will try to give a quick answer to this un balletic issue.

Cuba is a disaster, socially, politically and economically speaking. Sex tourism is what this place, which once was the little French Riviera of the Americas, has to offer now. The fact of getting a brand new American embassy there and a Cuban one in Washington won't change anything. The only difference will be that Americans will be free to travel there and enjoy such disparities. I hadn't returned in 13 years, and was saddened by such display of surrealism.

I will get the names of the Sugar Plum and Cavalier to post them. They made for a great performance.

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Did you ever find out the names of the Sugarplum and Cavalier from that performance or do you still have your program from that show? I wonder if that was the show I attended. Thanks. I'm interested.

Ah...what a wonderful performance. I still get amused by the evolutions of the children in Act I. Like the way little Clara plays a very proper hostess role by taking great care at gathering her friends' capes just to quickly pass them to the maids. It occurs to me that this is probably what Balanchine was used to as a kid while growing up in czarist Russia. Every time I see Act I and feel its wonderful vintage Christmas feeling, I feel nostalgic for a time that has gone by...when things were simpler, less electronic but probably more family oriented. I wonder if this type of celebrations are still somehow in vogue here in America. I just came back from a 5 days returning trip to Cuba, and I saw there's still no Christmas celebration there. Such a shame.

From Act II I paid more attention tonight to the Salome-like Arabian dance. Oh...Balanchine's version certainly gives one a brake from the controrsionists of the world usual display in this divertissement. Flowers were amazing, with a great leading Dewdrop danced by Leigh Ann Esty. Zoe Zien was scheduled to dance it, and I was really looking forward to it, but Esty made up for it big time. Another highlight of the night was the Grand Pas. I don't have the names of the dancers-(some new debutantes)-but as soon as I retrieve my programme from my car I will add them here.

House was packed, and people were cheering.

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