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SFB Nutcracker 2019 - 75th Anniversary

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First week of casting is up:  https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/#wed-dec-11-700-pm

The new site format only will display one performance at a time, but here are some of the notable debuts this week:

  • Principal Dancer Misa Kuranaga in the Grand Pas with Angelo Greco on Thursday 12/12 at 7:00 PM
  • Corps Dancers Thamires Chuvas and Esteban Cuadrado as Snow Queen & King on Friday 12/13 at 2:00 PM
  • Soloist Wona Park as Queen of the Snow with Joseph Walsh on Friday 12/13 at 7:00 PM
  • Principal Dancer Benjamin Freemantle as Nutcracker Prince on Friday 12/13 at 7:00 PM
  • Soloist Lonnie Weeks as King of the Snow with Elizabeth Powell on Saturday 12/14 at 2:00 PM

Opening Night Cast Wednesday 12/11 at 7:00 PM

Drosselmeyer: Tiit Helimets
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Carlo Di Lanno
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sasha De Sola
Grand Pas de Deux: Mathilde Froustey, Luke Ingham

 

 

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Sarah Van Patten is dancing the Grand pas de deux during the first week, which is terrific news. 

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1 hour ago, Josette said:

Sarah Van Patten is dancing the Grand pas de deux during the first week, which is terrific news. 

Frances Chung, also returning from maternity leave, will be dancing the Grand Pas De Deux on Saturday 12/14 in the evening performance.  Her Nutcracker Prince is Joseph Walsh.  Sarah Van Patten is dancing on Saturday afternoon with Luke Ingham as her Nutcracker Prince.

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SFB announcement:

Flowers will be in the wings next week, ready to waltz into Nutcracker! 🌸 As part of our countdown to the 75th anniversary of SF Ballet’s Nutcracker, we’re giving away the book "The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition," by Chris Barton. To enter, comment with your favorite ballet book 📚 before Monday at midnight. Link in bio for details. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5jE12NF_Ex/

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Casting is up for Sunday 12/15.  New Soloist Sasha Mukhamedov will dance the Grand Pas with Tiit Helimets at the 2 PM performance - https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/#sun-dec-15-200-pm.  In the evening performance,  Madison Keesler will debut as Queen of the Snow with Benjamin Freemantle as the King.  https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/#sun-dec-15-700-pm

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4 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Casting is up for Sunday 12/15.  New Soloist Sasha Mukhamedov will dance the Grand Pas with Tiit Helimets at the 2 PM performance - https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/#sun-dec-15-200-pm.  In the evening performance,  Madison Keesler will debut as Queen of the Snow with Benjamin Freemantle as the King.  https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/#sun-dec-15-700-pm

It's great that both Chung and Van Patten are making appearances. Toi toi toi.
Looks like Norika Matsuyama is being pushed forward.
Still no sign of Vladislav Kozlov. He remains the invisible dancer. Maybe in the last half of the month? Or perhaps he gets to spend December at home in Russia.

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Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets guested in The Nutcracker in San Jose. I thought this was a nice tribute from Sasha:

"Dancing with Tiit Helimets is like riding in Rolls Royce cars ... You know it’s going to be luxury."

[video]
https://www.instagram.com/p/B5v6uJXnlRp/

78991338_574947893281817_851742415825009

 

 

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Casting is now up for the second week of Nutcracker through Sunday 12/22.  Although not noted as debuts, I note the following: 

  • Misa Kuranaga will debut Sugar Plum Fairy at the Friday 12/20 2 PM performance.  
  • Cavan Conley will debut King of the Snow at the Saturday 12/21 7 PM performance (with Julia Rowe as Queen of the Snow

Also there are two pairs I don't think I have seen dance together:

  • Jahna Frantziskonis & Wei Wang as Queen & King of the Snow on Saturday 12/21 at 2 PM
  • Elizabeth Powell & Mingxuan Wang as Queen & King of the Snow on Sunday 12/15 at 7 PM

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18 minutes ago, sf_herminator said:

Casting is now up for the second week of Nutcracker through Sunday 12/22.  Although not noted as debuts, I note the following: 

  • Misa Kuranaga will debut Sugar Plum Fairy at the Friday 12/20 2 PM performance.  
  • Cavan Conley will debut King of the Snow at the Saturday 12/21 7 PM performance (with Julia Rowe as Queen of the Snow

Also there are two pairs I don't think I have seen dance together:

  • Jahna Frantziskonis & Wei Wang as Queen & King of the Snow on Saturday 12/21 at 2 PM
  • Elizabeth Powell & Mingxuan Wang as Queen & King of the Snow on Sunday 12/15 at 7 PM

Cavan Conley and Julia Rowe strikes me as a good pairing. I hadn't thought of that one before. I'd be interested to hear from forum members in the audience about any of the cast pairings...

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Wheeee excited to see Chung and Van Patten back so soon after maternity leave!  Glad Froustey is back too, since it seemed like her wedding coincided with Nutcracker rehearsals! 

Still was hoping to see more of both Kozlov and Sheehan.  I've seen footage of Sheehan rehearsing the Grand Pas, was hoping she'd get a crack at it.

Anyhow, looking forward to seeing the show later this week.

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Attending 12/21 2 pm performance:

Snow:  Frantziskonis/Wang

SPF:  Andre

GPdD:  Park/Greco

Wish I could afford more, but may try standing room for a couple.

Does anyone know if the new Flower costumes have made an appearance this season?  All the photos I’ve seen have the old ones, but are likely photos from previous years.

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3 hours ago, PeggyR said:

Attending 12/21 2 pm performance:

Snow:  Frantziskonis/Wang

SPF:  Andre

GPdD:  Park/Greco

Wish I could afford more, but may try standing room for a couple.

Does anyone know if the new Flower costumes have made an appearance this season?  All the photos I’ve seen have the old ones, but are likely photos from previous years.

Have a great time, PeggyR. I'd like to hear how Frantziskonis is dancing. I'm hoping to see her in a few roles in 2020...

Edited by pherank

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This made me laugh:

Super partners?

 

And this one for the saying on Natasha's Hair Tie tin:

 

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:19 PM, pherank said:


Still no sign of Vladislav Kozlov. He remains the invisible dancer. Maybe in the last half of the month? Or perhaps he gets to spend December at home in Russia.

Vladislav Kozlov sighting:  He was in the party scene at the Wednesday 7 PM performance.  He was one of the parents.

Casting is now up for the remainder of the Nutcracker run:  https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/casting/

One dancer I've noticed missing (although she was listed in the first week):  Wan Ting Zhao.  

Another debut listed (but now gone from the site as it was this afternoon):  Myles Thatcher & Miranda Silveira as King & Queen of the Snow.  Hopefully someone went and can provide a report.

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Worth a look:
SFB's blog has postings about previous Nutcracker versions at SFB -

Lew Christensen’s 1954 Nutcracker
https://sfballet.blog/2019/lew-christensens-1954-nutcracker/

Lew Christensen’s 1967 Nutcracker
https://sfballet.blog/2019/lew-christensens-1967-nutcracker/

The 1986 Christensen/Tomasson Nutcracker
https://sfballet.blog/2019/the-1986-christensen-tomasson-nutcracker/


A Clara Reunion:
https://sfballet.blog/2019/a-clara-reunion/

Maybe someone can identify a number of these former Clara's (from 1972 to 2018)? I see Elizabeth Powell in the last row.

IMG_7231-2.jpg?resize=1024,768&ssl=1

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Nutcracker By the Numbers (with pictures)
https://sfballet.blog/2019/nutcracker-by-the-numbers/

18
Pounds of fabric in the wind-up ballerina’s tutu

19
Soldiers (plus the Nutcracker) battle 11 mice (plus the King of the Mice)

30
Feet to the top of the Stahlbaums’ Christmas tree after it grows

65
Members of the Nutcracker orchestra

600
Pounds of snow falls (in each performance!)

1,200+
Pointe shoes used during Nutcracker season

3,700+
Hours volunteers [volunteered ?] by SF Ballet BRAVO members during each Nutcracker season

30,500+
Free Nutcracker tickets distributed through SF Ballet’s Children’s Enchantment Fund, since 1992.

And more on Nutcracker's Heaviest Tutu (including a short video of Natasha Sheehan dancing in her this tutu)
https://sfballet.blog/2019/nutcrackers-heaviest-tutu

 

Edited by pherank

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Saturday 12/21 2:00 pm

Nice if overall uninspired performance with a few notable moments to brighten things up a bit. 

I chose this performance mainly to see Jahna Frantziskonis (hereafter JF) and Wona Park, neither of whom disappointed.

JF danced the Snow Queen, and what I find amusing about her is that she ‘dances big’, so big that you don’t realize how petite she is until you see her standing on flat foot among other dancers.  It’s really a little startling.  This is the first time I’ve seen her in a classical role and she danced with great delicacy, including half a dozen fouettes that ended with a perfect quad and a perfectly nailed finish.  I don’t usually give more than halfhearted applause to fouettés, because too often they’re just applause machines regardless of the quality.  But this time, happy to clap with enthusiasm.

Snow King (Wei Wang) doesn’t have a lot to do, but Wang did let loose with some gorgeous double tours en l’air, all fully turned and landed in a perfect fifth.  You get so accustomed to these being cheated and scrunched around to finish that it really makes you sit up and notice when they’re this flawless.

Park and Greco danced the Grand Pas de Deux beautifully, including the shoulder jumps that went without a hitch.  Greco’s jumps are airy and spacious, and his landings nearly soundless, which is nice change from some of the thuds I’ve heard from other male dancers in recent seasons.  And getting back to fouettés:  Park did a dozen on-a-dime single-single-doubles with a clean finish.  Again, happy to add my applause.

Oh, and still the old Flower costumes.  I wonder what happened.

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1 hour ago, PeggyR said:

Saturday 12/21 2:00 pm

Nice if overall uninspired performance with a few notable moments to brighten things up a bit...

Oh, and still the old Flower costumes.  I wonder what happened.

Thanks much for the review, PeggyR. The inevitable problem with Nutcracker is that, with something like 30 shows, no one is dancing their heart out unless it's a Corps member who gets one chance to do a role. Mostly everyone on stage (and in the pit) is just trying to get though it without injury or mishap. There's few things worse than getting sidelined before the regular season even starts. I'm glad to hear that Frantziskonis is back and looking strong. I believe she's been dealing with a chronic injury this past year. Aaron Robison is still in recovery.

I haven't heard anything more about the costumes - why the flower costumes didn't get updated after all. One of those insider secrets.

Edited by pherank

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I hope to see the dancers dancing their hearts out for the four performances that I am going to after Christmas - after all, they are in a profession that they love and are dancing for a highly enthusiastic audience.  

 

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I don’t think the ‘uninspired’ had anything to do with the anyone not dancing his/her heart out.  I’m not a musician, but to my ear some of the tempos seemed on the slow side, which kind of stifles a cheerful ballet like Nutcracker.  Enjoy the ballet and I hope you report on the performances.

Edited by PeggyR

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3 hours ago, Josette said:

I hope to see the dancers dancing their hearts out for the four performances that I am going to after Christmas - after all, they are in a profession that they love and are dancing for a highly enthusiastic audience.  

 

4 performances - good for you, Josette.

Are you going to the Friday and Saturday performances? Grand Pas de Deux with Sofiane Sylve and Tiit Helimets, and Misa Kuranaga and Angelo Greco?

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Yes, I saw both of those performances. It was my first look at Misa Kuranaga, who is a gem! Sofiane and Tiit danced a majestic pas de deux and Sasha De Sola was radiant Sugar Plum Fairy last  night. Altogether wonderful performances!

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