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Ballet Chicago's 2021 Nutcracker onstage Dec. 10-12 & 16-19 in Atheneum Theater

Jack Reed

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I’ve seen two shows so far, the Saturday evening one on December 14 and the following Sunday matinee, as their Sunday shows only are.  Three friends came to the evening show, one with considerable modern dance experience short of a professional career but including academic study, and a professional couple who are very amateur musicians but also attend some serious shows, including an earlier Ballet Chicago Nutcracker, and other art exhibitions.  I mention all this to give a little background to the fact that we all had a lot of fun with this  - it wasn’t just this hopeless old addict; even people less deeply in need of certain kinds of art got a lot. 


Saturday evening was generally satisfying, with some pluses and minuses.  I wasn’t taken by a new dance among the entertainments in the party scene for seven medium-size girls to a Marche miniature I don’t remember ever hearing before, but Sunday afternoon I saw it revealing the whimsy in Tchaikovsky’s little piece.   That was more fun.  And in Saturday’s show the Russian dance (here called Caviar), a pas de trois for a girl, Emma Kapteyn, and two boys, Wyatt Kinsman and Andrew Poston, was, in its performance, more satisfying than the male solo for Kinsman alone substituted for it in Sunday’s show.     


Kayla Schmitt’s rendering of Coffee was more clearly stretched shapes in upright posture than I have seen in the past, while in the matinee, Lillie Rose Reddy gave it more flow and a suggestion of lower carriage - appropriate to this softer, spacious, Arabian, music - but still without losing shape or detail.  Again, the later artist was more satisfying.


Hayley Lampariello’s “Dewdrop” (not named as such in the program, but shown there as the leader of the Waltz of the Flowers) on Saturday evening was a more delicate performance one had to go to, in some contrast to the bolder dancers in this show, but when you did that, you found rewards, though Kayla Schmitt’s sharper, energetic rendition Sunday afternoon was certainly well-“heard” - Tchaikovsky’s big waltz- nothing miniature - flows through her.


Comparing the two Sugar Plums, I found Emily Hain’s large-scale and sculptural rendition of the adagio on Saturday evening very impressive, even dramatically so, while Hayley Lampariello’s more delicate and “quieter” realization was more implicative; with Lampariello, you listen more deeply, and you have a deeper experience. 


Satisfying as the Saturday evening show was on its own, the matinee was, overall, a step up from it.  

Edited by Jack Reed
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