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Nutcracker 2018


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Just in from a very enjoyable Nut. I liked this cast of kids of the party scene better than the performance I saw last week, it seemed more fresh and spontaneous. I find over the years that I love the little Nutcracker princes and Fritzes more than the girls. Maybe it’s just the role, but the boys always seem more poised and noble. Both of the Fritzes I saw this year were real winners, although the one with the curly hair (don’t have the program handy so I don’t have his name) exuded such joy and exuberance that it was hard to believe him as a bad kid. Little Athan Sporek is a wonderful performer, grand and committed. 

On to the principals. Unity Phelan is a stunning woman and a stunning dancer. Yes as canbelto says some looked effortful such as the series of grand jetes. This is not an ideal role for the type of dancer she is, but I would go see her Dewdrop again anytime. 

I wasn’t crazy about the over the top Mother Ginger. I found the antics to distract from what is for me one of the most charming moments of the whole show, the little girls and the bouncing pompoms. IMHO this kind of scene stealing should be disallowed. 

Kennard Henson was a wonderful soldier, emphasizing the wooden aspect. I hadn’t realized what a big guy he is, but I think he’s larger than many of the Soldiers. He’s someone I definitely look forward to seeing more of. And same for Christopher Grant, a vigorous Hot Chocolate. 

If anyone can report on the relatively new casting or soloist performances I would LOVE to hear it: Gerrity, Miller, Kikta, Phelan, Kretzschmar, Woodward, MacKinnon, as SPF or Dewdrop, and the Applebaum, Ulbricht, and Chamblee Cavalier. 

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10 hours ago, macnellie said:

Where is Lauren Lovett? Why is she not dancing at all this nutcracker season?  I hope she’s not injured

Lovette has been out this Nutcracker season, I assume she's injured. Also, Ashly Isaacs has been out, like, forever. I wonder what's up and what the injury is. Would also love an update on the status of Isabella LaFreniere. 

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34 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Lovette has been out this Nutcracker season, I assume she's injured. Also, Ashly Isaacs has been out, like, forever. I wonder what's up and what the injury is. Would also love an update on the status of Isabella LaFreniere. 

Lauren Lovett announced on her public facing Instagram that she was beginning her Virginia B. Toulmin fellowship with the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU on November 6 (http://balletcenter.nyu.edu/fellows/cba-fellow-lauren-lovette/). She has been posting footage of her choreography since, dancing alongside colleagues from NYCB (Spartak Hoxha, Eliza Blutt, Gretchen Smith, and Gilbert Bolden are in her Instagram posts) in addition to some non-NYCB dancers (Zoe Zien and Emma Portner, in addition to some others). She's posted choreography inspired by her time in the Met's Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas wing, and, most recently, it looks like she was in Brazil teaching at a community center along with the artist JR. Looking forward to seeing her back on stage. 

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I attended last night's Nutcracker. The good: Athan Sporek's Nutcracker Prince continues to delight. Devin Alberda's Soldier remains a very strong interpretation. Georgina Pazcoguin brought the sex and sultry back to Coffee! She also brought back the bent leg pirouettes in the finale. Anthony Huxley's Candy Cane. Sara Adam's Marzipan was well danced and she actually did have the gargouillades. 

The two principal women Tess Reichlen as SPF and Sterling Hyltin as Dewdrop were both wonderful although one could argue that neither was a "natural" in the role. Reichlen had gorgeous extension and a magisterial presence as the SPF, Hyltin's jumps as Dewdrop really flew and hung in the air. Although normally I would have loved to see Hyltin as SPF and Tess as Dewdrop I'm glad I saw these two interpretations last night.

The bad: Ask La Cour at this time is not dancing an acceptable Cavalier. His partnering was awkward -- there were many moments when things should have looked more seamless. The shoulder jumps are one such moment. His solo was quite frankly awful -- he tried to do the cabrioles and that didn't work, then he tried the menage and gave up maybe halfway through, then in the pirouettes a la seconde he also tried and ended up stumbling out of them. 

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Thanks for the report on last night, canbelto. After a very taxing week at work I was thinking about treating myself to a last minute ticket to Nut, but after checking the casting I decided I didn’t need to see Ask La Cour, and what you say doesn’t surprise me at all. Also very interested in reports on Kowroski and other casting. New Cavaliers - Chamblee, Applebaum, Ulbricht - did anyone see??

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On 12/12/2018 at 10:17 PM, macnellie said:

Where is Lauren Lovett? Why is she not dancing at all this nutcracker season?  I hope she’s not injured. 

According to her recent post on her public-facing Instagram, Lovette is guesting as SPF with Connecticut Ballet, so it doesn’t look like she’s injured 

 

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1 minute ago, Fleurfairy said:

Judging from the past several seasons, it seems like Lovette is pulling away from NYCB. It would not surprise me if she left the company altogether, let's put it that way.

She seems to be very interested in choreography projects, and a number of them are coming her way.

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Just now, vipa said:

She seems to be very interested in choreography projects, and a number of them are coming her way.

Yes, agreed. I will rephrase and say she is pulling away from her Principal dancer position and concentrating more on choreography and modeling projects.

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Lauren Lovette had I believe two ankle surgeries and at this point might feel that she doesn't have the stamina to maintain NYCB's extremely demanding punishing schedule for principals. If she has a talent for choreography (and I think she does) why not?

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2 hours ago, vipa said:

She seems to be very interested in choreography projects, and a number of them are coming her way.

There will always be another season of Nutcrackers, but a fellowship at NYC's Center for Ballet and the Arts might not present itself at so opportune a moment in her choreographic career, or even might not be possible again at all. (Not that I think Jennifer Homans' enterprise is likely to fold anytime soon, but CAB's funding and / or NYU's willingness to could crater suddenly and without warning.) And ditto her opportunity to teach at Casa Amarela Providência  in Brazil. 

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42 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

There will always be another season of Nutcrackers, but a fellowship at NYC's Center for Ballet and the Arts might not present itself at so opportune a moment in her choreographic career, or even might not be possible again at all. (Not that I think Jennifer Homans' enterprise is likely to fold anytime soon, but CAB's funding and / or NYU's willingness to could crater suddenly and without warning.) And ditto her opportunity to teach at Casa Amarela Providência  in Brazil. 

Thank you for the link—this sounds incredible! Brava to Ms. Lovette for grabbing the bull by the horns and committing to her creative development. While I'll miss her SPF this year, there will, indeed, be plenty of Nutcrackers ahead, and I'm really excited to see how she further develops her craft. 

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I think Lovette was basically back to dancing a full principal load in the fall. I remember comments from her along the lines of "It's been a long time since I've danced this much," like in the post below. It seems like she must have asked for a release from this Nutcracker season, but I was under the impression that most of her previous absences were due to injury, not outside projects (though several of those have certainly come her way). 

 

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My guess is Lovette would like more,not fewer, principal roles. Her dancing in Spring and Fall 2018 was exquisite and I believe included some NYCB debut roles. Hope to see her Aurora in Winter. 

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I've seen it done before. I find it inelegant. (Is that a word?)

The slide I think is a wonderful addition. It was not original to the production. That music used to be an arabesque promenade I believe.

 

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