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canbelto

Nutcracker 2018

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Looks like they're bringing Adam Hendrickson (Rebecca Krohn's husband, former company member) back for Drosselmeyer. Did he do the role when he was still with the company? I don't remember any other guest artists apart from LaFosse the past few seasons.

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23 minutes ago, DC Export said:

Looks like they're bringing Adam Hendrickson (Rebecca Krohn's husband, former company member) back for Drosselmeyer. Did he do the role when he was still with the company? I don't remember any other guest artists apart from LaFosse the past few seasons.

Yes, he used to do Drosselmeyer.

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On instagram stories Preston Chamblee is rehearsing the Nutcracker pas with Claire Kretzschmar. 

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The casting sheet has not come out but if you click on the individual performances you can now see who is cast from November 29-December 2nd.

In short:

Thursday Nov 29: Kowroski/T. Angle/Bouder

Friday Nov 30: Mearns/Janzen/T. Peck

Dec 1 mat: Woodward/Ball/King

Dec 1 eve: T. Peck/Gordon/Reichlen

Dec 2 mat: Pereira/Huxley/Gerrity

Dec 2 eve: A. Stafford/J. Angle/Kikta

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Story in the NYT about changes to Tea to tone down the stereotypes (NYCB is the focus, but other Nutcrackers are also mentioned): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/arts/dance/nutcracker-chinese-tea-stereotypes.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Dance

It looks like they've changed the hat and makeup for the man and eliminated the mustache, eliminated  the black wigs for the women, and modified the choreography to eliminate the pointing fingers. 

And Coffee may be next up for revision.

Edited by FPF
punctuation

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11 minutes ago, FPF said:

Story in the NYT about changes to Tea to tone down the stereotypes (NYCB is the focus, but other Nutcrackers are also mentioned): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/arts/dance/nutcracker-chinese-tea-stereotypes.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Dance

It looks like they've changed the hat and makeup for the man and eliminated the mustache, eliminated  the black wigs for the women, and modified the choreography to eliminate the pointing fingers. 

And Coffee may be next up for revision.

I am very glad to see this evolution. And I'm glad the Balanchine Trust supports it.

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15 minutes ago, FPF said:

Story in the NYT about changes to Tea to tone down the stereotypes (NYCB is the focus, but other Nutcrackers are also mentioned): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/arts/dance/nutcracker-chinese-tea-stereotypes.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Dance

It looks like they've changed the hat and makeup for the man and eliminated the mustache, eliminated  the black wigs for the women, and modified the choreography to eliminate the pointing fingers. 

And Coffee may be next up for revision.

When I was a child - long long ago - Coffee was a solo for Arthur Mitchell.  The current "belly dancer" version was supposedly devised to keep the daddies in the audience from being bored,  but that story might be apocryphal.

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Here is the old Coffee solo:

Here is the Coffee solo. I thought it was created special for Gloria Govrin.

 

Edited by canbelto

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56 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Here is the old Coffee solo:

Here is the Coffee solo. I thought it was created special for Gloria Govrin.

 

Oh my goodness - cultural appropriation,  black exploitation,  implied  homoeroticism - what's not to love!  What really makes it politically incorrect is those puffs on the hookah that seem to have a narcotic effect.  Who knew that Nutcracker could be so problematic?  (I do "appreciate" Arthur Mitchell's torso,  although I could never say so out loud these days!)

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But it is kind of cool to see where Balanchine lifted steps from Coffee Solo 1.0 into Coffee Solo 2.0. The arm movements are very similar, as is the general prancing around stage. 

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19 minutes ago, canbelto said:

But it is kind of cool to see where Balanchine lifted steps from Coffee Solo 1.0 into Coffee Solo 2.0. The arm movements are very similar, as is the general prancing around stage. 

Yes,  it is.  I was kidding about the solo.  It made a great impression on me as a child.  This was aired at a time when the mere appearance of someone black on television caused all other activity in black households to cease as we stared in wonderment.  I'm amazed that this sexy solo made it to air.  Segregation was still the law of the land in a large swath of the country.  I believe this was the broadcast where Balanchine changed the grand pas de deux to give the Sugar Plum Fairy four Cavaliers,  one of whom was Mitchell.  He wanted to make a statement about racism,  a very gutsy move at the time.

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Quote by the original Coffee, Francisco Moncion: 

He'd danced the Coffee solo at the premiere, smoking a hookah and drinking a cup of coffee provided by four tiny parrot-costumed children from the school, then falling asleep. The solo has been rechoreographed and is now danced by a sensuous woman. ''When we moved into the big State Theater, it was felt there ought to be something for the daddies in the audience.'' 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/1982/12/19/arts/new-role-for-a-ballet-veteran.html

Does anyone know if the other divertissements also originally included eating/drinking the various sweets?  

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10 minutes ago, On Pointe said:

Yes,  it is.  I was kidding about the solo.  It made a great impression on me as a child.  This was aired at a time when the mere appearance of someone black on television caused all other activity in black households to cease as we stared in wonderment.  I'm amazed that this sexy solo made it to air.  Segregation was still the law of the land in a large swath of the country.  I believe this was the broadcast where Balanchine changed the grand pas de deux to give the Sugar Plum Fairy four Cavaliers,  one of whom was Mitchell.  He wanted to make a statement about racism,  a very gutsy move at the time.

I do remember Arthur Mitchell saying in one of his interviews that if there were numerous invitations for NYCB to be filmed on television but a caveat of those requests was that Mitchell not be filmed. Balanchine rejected any invitation with that caveat. 

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2 hours ago, FPF said:

And Coffee may be next up for revision.

 

It seems far less clear how to deal with Coffee, if they decide to revise it. With Tea, there were obvious, mostly cosmetic changes that made the dancers appear less caricatured. But in that video, Reichlen isn't wearing blackface or blackface "light" (the spray-tan version you see in the Met's Aida), and her hair is her own. And as far as I can tell, her makeup is heavy, but not exoticized. So, it would come down to the costume and choreography. I could definitely imagine eliminating the gesture where she covers her face with her arm in the beginning, which seems like something out of Corsaire. But I think they'd have to consult with specialists to know what choreographic elements maybe be respectfully referencing Middle Eastern dance traditions and which may be stereotypical and potentially offensive. 

It's tough because the music itself paints a picture of the Middle East as highly sensual and languorous -- classic 19th-century Orientalism. It's like the musical equivalent of a Gérôme painting. And Balanchine matched that with his choreography. So even if you tweak a gesture here and there, it's still an eroticized fantasy of the Middle East. So how do you "fix" a piece whose very concept may be offensive to some? I guess you just do the best you can, and make compromises.  

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

It seems far less clear how to deal with Coffee, if they decide to revise it. With Tea, there were obvious, mostly cosmetic changes that made the dancers appear less caricatured. But in that video, Reichlen isn't wearing blackface or blackface "light" (the spray-tan version you see in the Met's Aida), and her hair is her own. And as far as I can tell, her makeup is heavy, but not exoticized. So, it would come down to the costume and choreography. I could definitely imagine eliminating the gesture where she covers her face with her arm in the beginning, which seems like something out of Corsaire. But I think they'd have to consult with specialists to know what choreographic elements maybe be respectfully referencing Middle Eastern dance traditions and which may be stereotypical and potentially offensive. 

It's tough because the music itself paints a picture of the Middle East as highly sensual and languorous -- classic 19th-century Orientalism. It's like the musical equivalent of a Gérôme painting. And Balanchine matched that with his choreography. So even if you tweak a gesture here and there, it's still an eroticized fantasy of the Middle East. So how do you "fix" a piece whose very concept may be offensive to some? I guess you just do the best you can, and make compromises.  

I recall reading that Tchaikovsky based the Danse Arabe on a Georgian lullaby rather than on actual Arabian music.  In the days before sound recording,  it's likely that he had little opportunity to become familiar with Arab musical themes anyway.

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8 hours ago, canbelto said:

I do remember Arthur Mitchell saying in one of his interviews that if there were numerous invitations for NYCB to be filmed on television but a caveat of those requests was that Mitchell not be filmed. Balanchine rejected any invitation with that caveat. 

Good for Balanchine!! This is consistent with other reports of his rejection of America's ugly Jim Crowe racism, especially in that era. 

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8 minutes ago, California said:

Good for Balanchine!! This is consistent with other reports of his rejection of America's ugly Jim Crowe racism, especially in that era. 

Yes, I believe he also refused to let the company perform in venues that had a problem with Mitchell being onstage.

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9 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

It's tough because the music itself paints a picture of the Middle East as highly sensual and languorous -- classic 19th-century Orientalism.

Languorous certainly, rather like Prokofiev's summer variation in Cinderella.  It's hard to be sprightly when the temperature is 40C+ and the sensuality may well come from watching belly dancers.  I always enjoyed Nureyev's Arab Dance, an interesting concept from a choreographer who was himself a Muslim.  His tumblers in the Chinese Dance were superior to all that pointy finger stuff too.

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The original male solo seems akin to current male belly dancing,  which is very popular in the Arab world.  Here's an example:

For a whole host of cultural reasons,  I can't  imagine an American ballet company staging anything like this.

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Posting this with caution, as I know emotions are strong on such topics. But I've never found the highly stylized makeup, costume, or "pointy finger" used in the NYCB version (and many others) to be insensitive or inappropriate. In fact, I have considered them an important part of the ballet, though perhaps only because I've seen very few versions (maybe none) that don't include them. I don't find the stylized movements/costumes/makeup of the Arabian, Russian, and Spanish variations offensive either. But I understand that others feel differently.  I do wonder about the future of all character roles in classical ballets, but perhaps that's fodder for a new topic elsewhere on the board.

Looking at the before/after pictures posted in the article, I find the new costume and lack of characterized makeup to be dull.  But that's just me and as I said, I understand others feel strongly that these changes were needed.

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I think a larger issue is Tea is probably the weakest choreography of Balanchine's Nutcracker. It always gets the least applause and this was before the makeover and after the makeover. If it was allowed, I'd take a bathroom break during Tea.

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I love Tea, I find it great fun. Whereas Coffee is a snooze. 

I buy Nut tickets way in advance, without knowing casting, so I’m always eager to see who I’ll get. Nov 30 - Mearns, Janzen, and Peck. Can’t do much better than that! #happy

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