Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Nutcracker 2018


Recommended Posts

I has been a wonderful Nutcracker season down here, dancing wise. i saw 5 performances, each of them with a different Sugarplum/Cavalier cast!  But first things first.  Let's ruminate a bit on the whole digital "new concept" of the production, now in its second year.

How do I start..? Well, with the creator of the production himself. Mr B. If he famously declared that "The Nutcracker IS the tree", then MCB does not has a Nutcraclker. Because the idea of substituting the physical growing tree to  with a digital nemesis halfway thru its growing was a disastrous one.  Lourdes, or whoever gave the green light to such horrendous thing just killed the magic of the whole scene.  Last year I spoke to her and specifically asked her the reasons for having done so.  She mentioned that the old tree was already too old and wobbling...and that because of the absence of a trapdoor, then the tree couldn't grow from inside out as in the State theater.   Well...yeah...there was no trapdoor, but I remember the old production....and the tree GREW, unfolding from the floor all the way up. Yes...maybe the material wasn't as hard as the one in NYCB, or the thing wasn't as luxurious...but it certainly grew all the way, and the whole of the battle scene was seen with the full tree in display.  Now, as I mentioned last year, only a sad lower foliage is what we see as a prop during the scene.  It is unfortunate that such magical moment where people even applaud to the mix of the percussion instruments giving momentum to the end of the growing is gone now.  They really killed this very important moment of the ballet.

The projections during the overture are more pleasant.  They display an angel flying around Nuremberg and they conduct us from outside to the interior of the Silberhaus home.  Then, during the added Sleeping Beauty music scene, more projections come,before Clara enters the room.

Even so...I still find strange the mixing.  It is as if a hybrid between film and ballet.  I predict this production won't survive the test of time.  This digital scenes might look like novelties now, but they will look outdated in 5 years from now. 

MOre to come.

  

Link to post
1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Well...yeah...there was no trapdoor, but I remember the old production....and the tree GREW, unfolding from the floor all the way up. Yes...maybe the material wasn't as hard as the one in NYCB, or the thing wasn't as luxurious...but it certainly grew all the way, and the whole of the battle scene was seen with the full tree in display. 

That's how the newish PNB tree in the Falconer re-design for Balanchine's Nutcracker works.  It's also from the fir/pine families and matches the landscape in the film that plays during the overture, so it's tall and narrow, rather than wide, and looks like they could have gone out, found their tree, and had someone cut it down for them.  To me, the unfolding and the slight sway makes it breathe and look more organic.

Link to post
23 hours ago, Helene said:

That's how the newish PNB tree in the Falconer re-design for Balanchine's Nutcracker works.  It's also from the fir/pine families and matches the landscape in the film that plays during the overture, so it's tall and narrow, rather than wide, and looks like they could have gone out, found their tree, and had someone cut it down for them.  To me, the unfolding and the slight sway makes it breathe and look more organic.

I agree.  In any case, even without the trap door, we HAD a whole tree during the battle scene.  Now we don't.

Anyhow...going on to the dancing, I must say it was excellent.  They added  more performances this year, and on Sundays they did a double .  So in between Fort Lauderdale and Miami I was able to watch 5 different casts for Sugarplum/Cavalier.  They were Nathalia Arja/Rainer Krenstetter, Jordan Elizabeth Long/Chase Swatosh, Katia Carranza/Renato Panteado, Lauren Fadeley/Jovani Furlan and Jennifer Lauren/Kleber Rebello. 

My favorite couple was Jennifer Lauren/Kleber Rebello.  Lauren is a very feminine, beautiful, glamorous ballerina with a regal demeanor-(I have met her, and can testify that she really owns the term "class").  Her Adagio with Rebello was very dreamy and full of accents.  Rebello is a short dancer, but one that has proven over the years to lift his ballerinas with no sweat.  They really worked their way through the pas in a  truly dreamlike manner.  The coda was fantastic, as Lauren gave us her round of pique turns in a way very few ballerinas do nowadays...meaning that she really covered the whole stage, and to do so without being behind the music her right leg wasn't just placed  on the floor, but she rather elevated it high and finished the step with a small jump on pointe,  looking pretty much as men when they do their jete menages.  It was very impressive.  Rebello was also great during his pirouettes a la second and his jetes menage, although being so short limbed really takes away, visually wise,  a lot of his efforts.  The guy has a very plush landing, and a wonderful ballon.  

Nathalia Arja was MAGNNIFICENT as Dewdrop.  I have had regarded Ashley Bouder as my number one favorite on this role.  That was until Arja danced it.  She has not the most ideal physique...she's very short and thin, her body totally absent of any curves.  But her dancing is spectacular...she really embodies that cliche of "little dancer dancing big".  

To be continued.

 

Link to post

My fourth Nutcracker had Lauren Fadeley and Jovani Furlan.  He has been a savior for the company's taller ballerinas-(like Fadeley herself or Jordan Long).  Lauren Fadeley is NOT  a lightweight ballerina.  She's tall and plump...in a way one doesn't really see that much nowadays-(think of a young Anastasia Volochkova).  Furlan  was amazing at partnering her.  Those over the shoulder jumps were done spotless.  I was really impressed..

Balanchine's Act I always mesmerizes me, as it constitutes a textbook on social etiquette and learning process for the youth.  This kids are basically mirroring, since their very first encounters, what the adults do.  They do grave salutations...they bow...the boys act with chivalry with the girls...the girls learn how to properly dance with the male adults.  And they get to learn from such early age. They interact along the adults during the party, not being merely relegated to the side.  I bet Balanchine's childhood memories comprised some of what we see in his party scene.  I find it very charming, and I really plan to follow some of this when mi daughter grows up a little more.  I'm a sucker for social etiquette.  😉

Let's jump to act II...to the divertissements...specifically to "Tea".  Do I notice that in ALL the performances the two porcelain dolls were performed by Asian dancers...? Do I see something strange in their costume...? As if unfinished...? I guessed right, as a dancer later on confirmed.  "Tea" has gone politically correct down here also.  The untidy feeling on the dolls mean they don't wear wigs anymore and there's no makeup either.  And their roles have gone to real Asian dancers out of a rejection of cultural appropriation.  No more pointing fingers either.  Verbatim.

To be continued.

Link to post

Fascinating way they are dealing with the Chinese Tea choreography.  I've always felt that they would do better to switch to Chinese animal costumes, and keep the original choreography (red pandas, as an example).  We are much more comfortable with anthropormorphism in dances that we would otherwise cringe at.  

Edited by Jayne
forgot the word "Tea"
Link to post

You think we're going too far with this stuff? Coolie hats DID used to exist. Why's it so awful now? Some people are concerned we're going to bland out everything in a desperate effort not to offend. I don't get what's so offensive about a coolie hat. Or a mustache. Or pointing fingers for that matter. Why is that insulting? I don't quite get it. 

Link to post

I don't think we're going too far with this stuff.  There are many ways to depict nationalities, and some rely upon far more stereotypes than others.  I don't think that it is desperation not wanting to offend: it is respectful of other people who have not been considered in the equation and are asking to be considered. 

A decision to be historically accurate, which could mean the intent of the creator, is separate from whether the depictions sting and are offensive.  

Link to post
17 hours ago, Helene said:

I don't think we're going too far with this stuff.  There are many ways to depict nationalities, and some rely upon far more stereotypes than others.  I don't think that it is desperation not wanting to offend: it is respectful of other people who have not been considered in the equation and are asking to be considered. 

A decision to be historically accurate, which could mean the intent of the creator, is separate from whether the depictions sting and are offensive.  

Helene... let's then ban "I love Lucy". Desi's Cuban epitomizes the word "stereotype".

Reality: It is a comedy show...I don't identify...it is harmless...etc etc.

Tea without the "geisha" wigs and pointy eyebrows was charmless.

Link to post

I loved Desi Arnaz because he reminded me of my Jewish, Galician (the Galicia in Poland) grandfather when my Odessa-born grandmother exasperated him.  

If a Cuban person tells me Arnaz is an offensive stereotype of Cuban people, I take that seriously.  If that person is an outlier after Cuban-Americans have the voice and freedom to discuss it without retaliation and have near consensus that he is not an offensive stereotype, I would still take that person seriously, although, if I were in a position to do so, I wouldn't necessarily pull the re-runs without a convincing argument.  If thoughts about it change or evolve, then it's time to make another decision.  

I find Tea charming regardless of headdress and eyebrow style because the choreography reflects the music so brilliantly, but, then again, there's almost nothing about costumes, wigs, or make-up that are essential to me to make find something charming, unless they're dressed as an animal.  Charm to me is almost always in the music, choreography, or expression of the dancers, not what they're wearing.  But I'm not everyone.

Link to post
23 hours ago, Helene said:

 

I find Tea charming regardless of headdress and eyebrow style because the choreography reflects the music so brilliantly, but, then again, there's almost nothing about costumes, wigs, or make-up that are essential to me to make find something charming, unless they're dressed as an animal.  Charm to me is almost always in the music, choreography, or expression of the dancers, not what they're wearing.  But I'm not everyone.

But this is The Nutcracker...not Agon, Helene! Some of this divertissements are massively weighted on their visuals. The dancing part of the Chinese dolls is almost non existent. Their charm lays, realistically, on the very items they are being deprived off, namely costumes, wigs, mannerisms and charm. If they next get rid of the guy's hat and/or braid for the same reasons, then....well, we can still watch him do the echapes.

But still....🤔

Link to post
On 12/23/2018 at 6:51 PM, Rock said:

I can't help it, I'm in cubanmiamiboy's camp. I may be PIC (politically incorrect) but to me generic is generic. The Chinese dance in anybody's version is not about the choreography. 

Thanks for the support 😉.

Anyhow...keeping my ruminations on these 5 Nuts, I almost forgot to mention my EXTREME disappointment at the absence of the children's chorus during the Snow Scene. They follow the notes, but with instruments instead. Totally underwhelming.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...