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Nutcracker garage sale


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The recent announcement by the Joffrey company (that they will trade out their current production of Nut, choreographed by Robert Joffrey, for a new version from Christopher Wheeldon in 2016) tipped me over a line here -- by my unofficial finger count that's three soon-to-premiere productions that are replacing long-running versions (Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and now Joffrey) which will join several others (Oregon Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet ...)

I'm not here to discuss whether these are good or bad choices (well, actually, I'm always up for that, but that's not why I'm starting a thread). Firstly, what productions am I missing in that spotty list above -- who is changing out their Nut (or has already done it). And what is happening with their old shows? Should we indeed host a Nutcracker garage sale, finding new homes for old productions?

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It depends on the production. Potential buyers could be smaller companies who could pick and choose among the costumes, for example.

Specialty "Nutcrackers," like the Stowell/Sendak version, would be as hard to transfer without the choreography as Bourne's or Morris' versions, but we're used to that with contemporary and modern dance versions of classics.

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Not recent at all, but if we're talking garage sales, what happened to the costumes for Ruth Page's Nutcracker?

And Kirk Peterson's (?) Nut for Connecticut -- I never did get a chance to see the beehive motif...

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Peterson's production had phenomenal costumes & sets... truly splendid. I believe the University of Hartford's Hartt Conservatory got them... they had a joint program with Hartford Ballet and subsumed the school under the company's collapse.

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I thought the beehive motif a little strange (though beautiful... and when the set burst into bloom it was quite astonishing) but I believe there was historical precedence... will have to hunt....

here it is... a line from wikipedia's entry on Nutcracker:

In the original libretto, the ballet's apotheosis "represents a large beehive with flying bees, closely guarding their riches".[19]
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Some physical productions can be very enduring. I believe that David Walker's Sleeping Beauty designs from the 1970s are still in circulation, even though the Royal Ballet has moved on to its third or fourth production since then. Of course a North American Nutcracker would be subjected to more frequent use and would suffer greater wear and tear as a result.

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Some physical productions can be very enduring. I believe that David Walker's Sleeping Beauty designs from the 1970s are still in circulation, even though the Royal Ballet has moved on to its third or fourth production since then.

And people still rave about the Messel designs, after all these years and intervening productions.

I know that Grand Rapids Ballet got a new Nut this year, with designs by Chris van Allsburgh, but I don't think it replaced a different custom-made production. What other productions am I missing (what does Ballet West do?)

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Not recent at all, but if we're talking garage sales, what happened to the costumes for Ruth Page's Nutcracker?

The costumes were gifted to the school by the Chicago Tribune, which always owned the production. I can't recall what happened to the sets. They're still used for their student company production.

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It pretty much killed any chance of a Chicago ballet company being viable the decades the Tribune's Nut was running... but it did introduce a great many young people to the art form. I'm not sure how much they were touched (the space was cavernous), but some must have been. How many performances of Nutcracker does the Joffrey do in Chicago?

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It pretty much killed any chance of a Chicago ballet company being viable the decades the Tribune's Nut was running... but it did introduce a great many young people to the art form. I'm not sure how much they were touched (the space was cavernous), but some must have been. How many performances of Nutcracker does the Joffrey do in Chicago?

And there is a fundamental truth about Nutcracker -- it is almost impossible to run a resident company without one. And so this out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new trend is perhaps more important than other repertory choices.

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I think only the gun firing became too expensive an insurance item... I believe the rest remains intact.

There were blanks fired on stage in Ballet Arizona's Napoli last week. I wonder if insurance was an issue there.

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I'm not sure how Page managed the company's finances... how the dancers were paid, whether they made AGMA rates or how much they survived on work with the Opera... (Page & Tallchief both worked with the opera... that didn't seem to be offered to Tallchief's successor, Daniel Duell, but instead the Lyric continued to work with Tallchief's assistant Kennth von Heidecke) I know in the 1990s Ballet Chicago would sort of disband during Nutcracker season so the dancers could work other Nutcrackers. I know it was very hard to compete with the Tribune's Nutcracker and that full page ads for it started in the Tribune around Labor Day. I remember hearing that when the Pennsylvania/Milwaukee ballet tried to bring their Nutcracker through, the Tribune had giant Rats outside passing out flyers... Page did have some money, I don't know how much she subsidized the company... and wasn't Tallchief's husband a Chicago Real Estate magnate? I seem to remember something about rent not being an issue when she took over from Page, but I don't remember the details. Maybe someone does...

Tribune's Nut always seemed a little like robbing from an arts non-profit (Nutcracker is a ballet company's bread & butter) to serve another charity (literacy charities) ... always hoping to sell more newspapers I guess. McCormick was one of those pushing phonetic spelling, (presumably to make it easier to read newspapers) http://www.englishspellingsociety.org/journals/j24/shipley1.php

But we are straying pretty far from the Garage Sale (always fun to converse with the neighbors)

Maybe firing the blank was an insurance issue for the venue? Last week I was considering a list of ballets with fire-arms...

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My recollection is that Ruth Page's company was AGMA. If someone knows otherwise, let me know. I think they would have had to be to perform at McCormick Place and the Opera House. Miss Page had some money but my other recollection is that her money did not fund the Chicago Ballet entirely because I recall hearing that her husband Mr. Fisher had constructed things so that she couldn't, as he knew she might have wanted to (he was a well known attorney).

I much preferred the original designs for her Nut (Act 1 by Rolf Gerard and Act 2 by Karinska) but they did get a bit worn. I didn't care for the newer ones but the students are lucky to be dancing in them. I have to ask someone what happened to the sets. How many theatres could they fit? McCormick Place's Arie Crown, if I recall correctly, has a 90-foot proscenium.

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