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Nutcracker 2018


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actually acc'd to RJWiley the slide is referred to in notations from the original 1892 production as "a reika" (sometimes translated as a "lath") - RJW says: "After breaking the last pose to the preceding section, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince move 'to the reika' at the rear of the stage. Then they traverse the stage 'on the reika' from the audience's let to its right." Balanchine's blocking reworks this, but the device he uses makes reference to this 1892 moment. The familiar photo of Gerdt's prince and Nikitina's Sugar Plum where the former wisks the latter along on a gossamer scarf is thought to show something of how this worked. Peter Wright's Royal Ballet production attempted to recreate the "gliding on a scarf" effect but it was short lived. If mem. serves this photo has been posted on this side at some point.

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That's so interesting. That Balanchine remembered that theatrical trick and when he had the resources he put it in. What other ballets have stage tricks like that? Of course there's Bournonville's La Sylphide with the Sylph flying across the stage at the end. In some productions there's a bit with a bird in the tree isn't there? The Sylph flies up or it comes down or something. Also isn't Giselle coming from and going back to a trap door grave an old element in some productions? Swan Lake's ending - often incorporates a theatrical trick. 

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8 hours ago, canbelto said:

Sir Peter Wright in his FIRST iteration of the ballet for the Royal Ballet (he's now made so many changes that it might as well be a different ballet) kept this effect:

 

That's fascinating, especially after seeing the photo of  the original version. It looks difficult, so it's understandable it disappeared in later versions. But I wonder why Balanchine didn't use the original scarf (as the Royal seems to have made that work), instead of the floor slide or whatever he used to pull her along.

Even so, as the skarf hasn't appeared before or seem to have any particular dramatic purpose, it still feels gimmicky. Historic, but gimmicky.

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I don't find it gimmicky - on the contrary I find it charming and magical - and completely suitable as it fits in with Drosselmeier being a magician and doing magic tricks in Act I. One assumes the scarf was thrown over a floor side much like the one used at the NYCB. 

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In response to those who asked for reports on Nutcracker performances, I attended last evening’s performance with Tiler Peck as SPF, Gonzalo Garcia as her Cavalier, and Ashley Laracey as Dewdrop. A spirited, joyful and energetic performance. First, all the children were wonderful. I didn’t remember that there were so many roles for kids. Except for a fall in the Act 1 party scene as the horde of kids ran from one end of the stage to the other, they were all perfect, joyful, and incredibly well trained. Kudos to Athan Sporek, the Little Prince. As others have noted, he has true stage presence, as well as musicality and dance talent. His pantomime of killing the Mouse King was the best I’ve ever seen. 

Tiler was her usual musical, perfect self, a joy to watch. The two shoulder lifts looked effortless (Garcia was a supportive partner, although his solos were sluggish and he looked a bit out of shape). The only weird thing was that one of their pas de deux ended well after the music ended, leaving Tiler to raise her arms in the final pose at stage front center after the music stopped. Don’t know why this happened.

Ashley Laracey looked thin, although she danced well. Harrison Ball replaced Troy Schumacher as Candy Cane and did a great job, his hoop jumping effortless. Olivia MacKinnon was a competent but not memorable Coffee with not enough energy, style or pizzazz for the role. In comparison I was reminded of how great Tess Reichlen is in this sultry, sinuous role. Adam Hendrickson (former NYCB dancer) was a loving, not frightening Drosselmeier. Preston Chamblee was a funny Mother Ginger, especially since I know he has the build of a football player. The corps numbers—Snowflakes in Act I, and Flowers in Act II—were wonderful. Kudos to the orchestra as well. This was my only Nut this year and my adult daughter and I, who have seen it many times together, had a great evening. 

Edited by CTballetfan
I’m not sure Hendrickson was a principal so I changed it.
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Thanks for the report on this performance, CTballetfan! I was highly tempted to buy a last minute ticket to see this cast, especially Tiler, but I was sadly burdened with things like laundry and packing. I believe Adam Hendrickson retired as a soloist. I will be interested to hear reports about Olivia MacKinnon's Dewdrop. 

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1 hour ago, CTballetfan said:

Garcia was a supportive partner, although his solos were sluggish and he looked a bit out of shape

This seems to be the new norm at NYCB among several of its principal men. You can get by in the company if you're an excellent partner, and if you crap out after struggling to execute a few turns a la seconde, oh well. It makes me all the more grateful for dancers like Joseph Gordon and Harrison Ball.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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For those of you who cannot make it to the City, but still want some Balanchine Nutcracker in their lives I have discovered that the 2011 Lincoln Center at the Movies recording is available for rent/purchase on iTunes, the Kevin Kline narrated version is still on Netflix. It was great to see the current dancers while sitting on my couch tonight. It has Fairchild/De Luz as Sugar Plum/ Cavalier, Bouder as Dewdrop, Reichlen as Coffee, and Peck as Marzipan. 

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Gorgeous Nutcracker last night with Phelan / Gordon / Woodward. Woodward is a natural Dewdrop... she has the spark and personality, plus musicality and perfectly executed turns that reminded me of Tiler Peck. She was the highlight of the evening. Phelan was a very admirable Sugar Plum Fairy, if not an ideal one. She has beautiful extensions for the role but could use more warmth and airiness in her steps. Gordon nailed all of the tricks and was a great partner -- there was a moment in the promenade sequence when I thought Phelan might not make the unsupported balance at the end, but she ended up pulling it off. 

Other highlights: Harrison Ball as Candy Cane, Sebastian Villarini-Velez as tea (those jumps!), Lydia Wellington who stepped in (unannounced) for Georgina Pazgoguin in Hot Chocolate, Athan Sporek as the little prince (he is destined for greatness), and the perfectly in-sync Polichinelle child dancers. 

Agreed with whoever said that Megan LeCrone is a mediocre Coffee. She was the only disappointment of the evening, though, and she wasn't even that bad. 

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On 12/21/2018 at 7:50 AM, California said:

That's fascinating, especially after seeing the photo of  the original version. It looks difficult, so it's understandable it disappeared in later versions. But I wonder why Balanchine didn't use the original scarf (as the Royal seems to have made that work), instead of the floor slide or whatever he used to pull her along.

Even so, as the skarf hasn't appeared before or seem to have any particular dramatic purpose, it still feels gimmicky. Historic, but gimmicky.

I have always loved that section in the Collier/Dowell video, and think it a shame they've decided to excise it. Balanchine probably remembered it and recreated it with much success, I'd say. When it happens, no matter what, there are always audience members who gasp in awe. I believe many of then don't really realize about the sliding device.  So...I really hope that it never becomes "politically incorrect"🤔

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
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On 12/26/2018 at 4:01 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

I have always loved that section in the Collier/Dowell video, and think it a shame they've decided to excise it. Balanchine probably remembered it and recreated it with much success, I'd say. When it happens, no matter what, there are always audience members who gasp in awe. I believe many of then don't really realize about the sliding device.  So...I really hope that it never becomes "politically incorrect"🤔

 

Yes, the slide is one of those magical moments that fits perfectly in The Nutcracker. Even after seeing Balanchine's version 100 times, I'm still struck by the effect. 

After seeing that Collier/Dowell version, I understand why they eliminated the scarf trick. She looks very unsteady. It was probably too difficult to pull off while looking effortless.

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Hi ballet fans.  I have been reading this board in preparation of attending my first NYCB Nutcracker tomorrow (Dec 29 matinee), and my flight this morning was cancelled.  Due to the paper ticket policy, I have no course of action to sell my tickets.  I thought I'd offer them to anyone on here who wants them for whatever they can afford to pay.  There are 3.  The box office just told me they could reprint them and hold them at will call under any name I give them.  You could Paypal me upon receipt of the tickets at will call.  I paid $606 for the lot, but at this point, as I mentioned, anything is better than nothing.  I'm out $3500 in tickets for the weekend for the four of us.  Email me....  angel4830@yahoo.com  Thanks!

  • Orch, K2
  • Orch, K4
  • Orch, K6
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On 12/27/2018 at 4:20 PM, Fleurfairy said:

Yes, the slide is one of those magical moments that fits perfectly in The Nutcracker. Even after seeing Balanchine's version 100 times, I'm still struck by the effect. 

After seeing that Collier/Dowell version, I understand why they eliminated the scarf trick. She looks very unsteady. It was probably too difficult to pull off while looking effortless.

Because it was done without any device. It was just Collier keeping her balance as humanly possible while being dragged by the scarf. I wonder if the Imperial production used a device a la Balanchine or if they did it a la Wright. 

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2 hours ago, angel4830 said:

I'm out $3500 in tickets for the weekend for the four of us.  

Wow, angel4830, what a bummer!! It seems like there ought to be some recourse in situations like this. With airline tickets you can choose to pay more to have the option to cancel or rebook. Maybe there ought to be something like that for dance/theatre tickets. Would be a good option when you’re planning a performance-packed trip in winter. Even if you recoup some of the cost, though, what a disappointment. Maybe next year for Nutcracker. 

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3 hours ago, cobweb said:

Wow, angel4830, what a bummer!! It seems like there ought to be some recourse in situations like this. With airline tickets you can choose to pay more to have the option to cancel or rebook. Maybe there ought to be something like that for dance/theatre tickets. Would be a good option when you’re planning a performance-packed trip in winter. Even if you recoup some of the cost, though, what a disappointment. Maybe next year for Nutcracker. 

I should have bought trip insurance.  Lesson learned!  

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Angel this won’t help you with nutcracker because NYCB has strict policies for the December cash cow (I say this with love, hoping to finally make it tomorrow and wish I could buy your tix for today but it just won’t Work). 

But if you have Broadway tickets you can’t use most theaters have a post date policy. Or sometimes you can transfer tickets. If I can help with how to do these things PM me. I’m dealing with family business today but will try to get back to you. 

Such a shame. 

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12 hours ago, angel4830 said:

should have bought trip insurance.  Lesson learned!

Does trip insurance cover things like performance tickets? I never think of buying trip insurance, but in cases like this that would be good to know. 

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2 hours ago, rkoretzky said:

Angel this won’t help you with nutcracker because NYCB has strict policies for the December cash cow (I say this with love, hoping to finally make it tomorrow and wish I could buy your tix for today but it just won’t Work). 

But if you have Broadway tickets you can’t use most theaters have a post date policy. Or sometimes you can transfer tickets. If I can help with how to do these things PM me. I’m dealing with family business today but will try to get back to you. 

Such a shame. 

You all are so nice on this board!  Thanks!

The box office did seem to indicate I could switch my tickets to one of the remaining performances if you see this very shortly and are interested in trying.  I have unloaded some of my tickets on Stubhub, and only have Wicked tickets tonight remaining besides Nutcracker.  I'm still holding out hope the Wicked tickets will sell, because there aren't many available anywhere online.

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27 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Well, I for one am very glad you had the time to put this together - many thanks!

Thnaks! Finding the videos was actually the most fun. It made me realize how much both versions changed over the years.

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