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11/30 nutcracker performace

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In the Afternoon performance I thought Act I very well performed and that the children, in particular, were much tighter than they usually are this early in the season. Although there were major glitches in the Mice-Toy Soldier battle. The snow scene will also take more work for the corps to come together, though Elizabeth Walker, in that first breathtaking moment when she bourrees onto the stage alone in the half light, was magical. Walker is such a wonderful example of how artistry transforms mere flesh and matter.

Quinn drove the Tempi much too fast in Act II. The poor Polchinelles didn't know where they were or what to do, and for Kowroski and Askegaard it was the equivalet of the Monaco Grand Prix. The look Kowroski gave Quinn at the end of the coda was something. "If looks could kill ..." Quinn would not conduct Nuts again. Kowroski's performance was extremely warm. Nothing 'Hieratic" about that principle dancer yesterday. I also thought, watching Taylor in the Waltz, that she's reached an entirely new level of technical security and artistry, although she too had to race to keep up with the orchestra. Among the divertissements, Ulbricht-Bouder-and-Fairchild in "Tea" was a dream mini-cast.

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I attended the evening, on the premise that a Ringer-Boal-Ansanelli cast was untoppable. It was a disappointing night. My report to friend (edited for public consumption) follows:

Act I: Generally fine. Unwelcome "improvements" in Mouse fight (unless memory's playing tricks), but the kids were good. I liked Fritz (Amon Ito), but I always like Fritz.

Act II: In her variation, Jenny seemed not to have gotten back to performance shape yet, and the pas was marred by mishaps. Peter nearly dropped her on her tiara after the first swoon. The first pirouette into backbend was botched; it seemed Kaplow and the dancers were each waiting for the other to signal the climax. The second one was not a whole lot better. For these fine dancers, it was definitely not their finest moment.

The Angels were a little under rehearsed. Polichinelles: seriously under rehearsed. Hot Chocolate: watered down. Coffee: burnt. Tea: way over-caffeinated. Candy Canes: soggy. Marzipan: stale and hardened. Flowers: wilted. It's all thanks to management's campaign to drum the musicality out of everything.

Dewdrop was . . .

Alexandra saved the night for me. Flashes of Gelsey's daring. She was just sensational. It's so gratifying to see her dance allegros big and full-out and with nuance -- a rarity at NYCB these days.

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I didn't think it was bad! No, I did not.

It was the second performance of the run, and I thought the children did well, They always do get better, but I didn't find the missteps too glaring or in anyway unacceptable.

Aesha Ash, with the blonde hair and Lil'Kim makeup, needs to be seriously and kindly Spoken To. It distracted me from her dancing, which was fine but overshadowed by The Look.

I think Jenifer Ringer looked lovely, frankly, and see nothing to criticise in her appearance. I think she and Peter Boal looked better singly, but there were some lovely moments, and it was by no means a bad performance--this is a good role for her and he, as ever, is simply beautiful to watch.

Alexandra Ansanelli danced big, and diamond bright, and was the highlight of the show for me. She is so secure technically, and it is a pleasure to see her flying through those flowers like a shower of dew--I know it sounds hackneyed, but really she just sparkled through that whole waltz and it was a delight to watch.

So--I see we all have different impressions!!;)

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well, i thought it was really good. i do know the kids, so all i'll say is, no matter how bad they do, make sure you clap a lot, because it can be very nerve wracking when something goes wrong on stage, especially for the occasional little 7 year old who gets in. i thought jenifer ringer was great, and Peter Boal too, even with their little wobles. Alexandra Ansanelli seemed a little off on some of her turns, but i thought she was great. shes lovely to watch. Considering the soldier in party scene almost fell over too, i think a lot of people are still just getting used to doing nutcracker again. i didn't think mother ginger did as good a job as i've seen. i may have smiled once, but last year there was one who had the whole audience practically rolling on the floor. over all i thought it was a good performace. i went with a 14 year old guy who had never really seen any ballet before, and when he left he seemed quite thrilled about ballet. so if that performace has made just one person appreciate this art so dear to us all, i think that it has done its job. :)

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Thanks for posting that, SABgurlie. I hope you'll help give courage to other new reviewers :) It's so nice to be able to read so many different opinions. And it is good news that at least one 14-year-old guy new to ballet liked the performance -- and good for you, for introducing someone to ballet. Now, if everyone did that, we'd double the audience for ballet in a year! Think of that!!

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Re Ansanelli's Dewdrop in the Flower Waltz: Ansanelli has a very strong innate sense of what a role needs to work dramatically on the stage and is good at "selling" a performance to the audience. Sometimes, though, it seems to me that her emphasis on making the dramatic "shape" of the choreography clearly visible comes at the expense of some of the subtleties, that at times bits of choreography are slurred or receive less than their full value in between the big dramatic moments.

Watching her Dewdrop during Wednesday night's performance -- not the performance commented on above by Juliet and by SABGurlie but the next one -- I thought of this. She did sparkle. The big moments, such as the weaving rush up the middle of the parting flowers, were gorgeous. But there was also a lot of slight falling out of turns, more than a few transitional steps, in between those big dramatic moments, which were flubbed, merely indicated (almost marked), or only half performed. Positions not closed before on she'd rush, turns not completed.

There are still at times, I thought that evening, some major technical weakness to Ansanelli's dancing. She is clearly a company star and performs as a de facto principal. But I wonder if some further development in technical strength and especially a committment to giving full value to all of the choreography -- if less of a "hard sell" performance approach -- would not be welcome.

And then I remember that Friday Night performance in Allegro Brilliante, last February, which was the best thing I saw at State Theater all last year.

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