CriticalDance Forum

Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003
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Author:  ncgnet [ Thu Nov 20, 2003 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

From the Boston Herald, some happy news for Boston Ballet's Nutcracker this year:

Boston’s first Christmas angel

Boston Ballet hoped to attract a generous corporate donor when it offered a private performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Wang Theatre on Dec. 10. Instead, the company has been touched by an angel in the form of a local business executive and his wife. Yesterday, the anonymous couple made a six-figure donation in order to have all 3,600 seats available that evening.
In a further gesture of good will, they’re inviting folks from local youth-serving organizations to see the show, ....
More...(Scroll past first item for this.)

And the Globe's version:

SUITE DONATION Boston Ballet’s on a roll. Just days after receiving the largest single gift in its 40-year history -- $3 million bequeathed by a recently deceased supporter -- the company announced it has been given a six-figure sum by a local business executive and his wife.
More...Scroll down for this item

<small>[ 21 November 2003, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: BBalletFan ]</small>

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Nov 28, 2003 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

Listings of Boston area holiday performances, including dance:

From the Boston Globe: A change in the season

From the Boston Herald: Kick it up for the holidays
(Several dance events noted about half way through the article.)

The Herald also noted that due to demand, Boston Ballet has added a Nutcracker performance on Tuesday Dec 16 at 7:30pm.

Author:  ncgnet [ Sat Nov 29, 2003 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

In the Lowell Sun Nancy Tuttle writes about Boston Ballet's Nutcracker, including an interview with Mikko Nissinen, and also notes other regional Nutcracker productions:
Sweet dreams: Boston Ballet brings life to the tradition of ‘The Nutcracker’

In addition, the current edition of eMotions, Boston Ballet's online newsletter, features articles about The Nutcracker.
(You can subscribe to eMotions from BB's home page,

Author:  ncgnet [ Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

From Dorian Block in the Sunday Boston Globe:

Company shares its ‘Nutcracker’ sweet
3 morning shows coming to Strand

For the past 10 years, Boston children have hopped, marched, and waltzed across the Strand Theatre’s stage in the Boston Dance Company’s production of "The Nutcracker." This season, for the first time, the performances are open to the public.

James Reardon, a former Boston Ballet Company soloist, began the Boston Dance Company, providing annual professional-level "Nutcracker" performances for school groups. After a decade of selling out 1,400-seat performances, the company will open seats to the community. Reardon is proud of his company’s ability to attract nontraditional audiences.

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

Reviews for Boston Ballet's Nutcracker:

From the Christine Temin in the Boston Globe:
Pas de deux: a ‘Nutcracker’ of bold luster...

The approach of another “Nutcracker” season makes critics cringe. Once in the theater with the overture beginning, though, the cynicism slides away - if the particular production is good enough.

Boston Ballet’s is, as last night’s lustrous performance indicated. The quality and depth of the dancing on the Wang Theatre stage makes even more depressing the likelihood that the Ballet’s “Nutcracker” will be evicted from the Wang after this year, replaced by the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

And from Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald:

Boston Ballet adds class to outgoing ‘Nutcracker’

If Josiah A. Spaulding Jr. needs a good reason not to kick Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” out of the gracious Wang Theatre next year, let’s hope he was at last night’s performance. Artistic director Mikko Nissinen presented one of the classiest versions the company has offered in many years. It’s still the satisfying spectacle it always was but with greater continuity and a noticeable emphasis on the splendors of classical technique.

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

In the Boston Globe, Thea Singer reviews Jose Mateo's Nutcracker:

‘Nutcracker’: One with new intricacy and inspiration

The choreography of Jose Mateo’s “Nutcracker,” appropriately enough, recalls the structure of snowflakes - the kind you make by folding and snipping white paper into crystals as well as the kind that melt on your tongue. His is a unique kind of magic: He can take clusters of dancers and through intricate geometric patterning - of traffic, of dynamics, and of density - transform the very space those dancers fill.

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

In the Boston Herald, T. J. Medrek reviews Jose Mateo's Nutcracker:

Clara & pals shine in Sanctuary

Once upon a time there were two productions of “The Nutcracker” on Tremont Street each December: Boston Ballet’s at the Wang Theatre and Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre’s at the Majestic. But when the Majestic closed for renovation a couple of years ago, Mateo moved his version of the holiday classic to an impressively improvised Sanctuary Theatre at his spacious studio space in Harvard Square’s Old Cambridge Baptist Church. And despite the Majestic’s recent reopening, Mateo’s “Nutcracker” has stayed put.

This year’s Ballet Theatre production officially opened last night, again revealing both the pros and cons of this Cambridge venue for the tale of little Clara and her exceptional Nutcracker doll.

Author:  citibob [ Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

I'm so proud. This is the first time yours truly the Rat King has been mentioned! :-) :-)

When I first got the role 4 years ago, I was diasppointed with it. But since then I've grown to appreciate what it is to be the Bad Guy, the anti-Hero. I've sought to improve the Rat King every year, make him meaner, leaner and, well, Rattier. I never imagined he would appear in a review, he's not that type of character). But there he is this year, not once but twice.

Just goes to show that there are no bad roles, only bad dancers.

Author:  djb [ Fri Dec 05, 2003 8:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

That's great! I think character roles are lots of fun, especially villains.

Author:  citibob [ Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

This Rat King is not a character role, it's a dramatic dancing role. Not knowing what else to do this year, I turned a tourjete into a double saut de basque jump.

On another topic: Nutcracker can serve as a benchmark for artists because it's the same show year after year.

In relation to BB, the reviews seem to indicate that the direction set for the company by Mikko is paying off. They report a greater sense of wholeness in the production that was lost for a while in the past. Also, the virtuosity of the second act sounds definitely fun and delightful. Virtuoso dancing is a great use for the great dancers an organization like BB is able to hire.

With the focus increasingly on the dancing rather than the special effects (such as the hot air balloon), BB will have less trouble moving venues next year. A virtuosic divertissement with a small number of dancers in it will play just about as well in on any stage; the rising hot air ballon might have to be modified.

I have watched so many people get upset at the changes, but I think I can see the direction and I think it is good. Not just for the Nutcracker, but for the rest of the shows as well. This is the first time in the past four years that I can say yes, BB seems to HAVE a direction. Congratulations, Mikko!

I'm fascinated by the character of the dancing bear. Can anyone who's seen it say anything about it? Is it good or evil? Real or mechanical? Male or female? How long does it dance for, and what does it do? Does it dance en pointe or flats? What are the reactions to it at the party?

Author:  ncgnet [ Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

A review of Boston Ballet's Nutcracker, from Iris Fanger in the Patriot Ledger:
New, improved ‘Nutcracker’ at Wang

Let’s hope that the splendors of this year’s Boston Ballet production of “The Nutcracker” will not soon pass into memory, because Thursday night’s opening performance of the re-tooled spectacle was one of the most skilled and satisfying performances ever seen here of the beloved holiday treat. If this were Japan, the entire proceedings would be declared a civic treasure, to be preserved and cherished at all costs, rather than threatened with extinction.

Author:  ncgnet [ Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

Regarding Boston Ballet's dancing bear.... I haven't been yet this year but I don't think the choreography has changed. It is a cheerful popular bear. There are often pictures of it included in ads. The bear is a he, and wears a fluffy golden tan costume with a big bear head. Much like a teddy bear. This costume was rebuilt when the new sets and costumes were designed some years ago, so it is light and the bear can do some nice dance moves. He is led in on a leash and let off it to dance. He does a kind of Russian dance, spinning around on the floor with legs thrown out, and does that jump where he looks like he's sitting in mid-air touching his toes. Moves that are (or were) done again by the lead male in the Russian dance in act II. Sorry I don't know the proper dance step name for that. It isn't a very long dance but it is, as I said, popular.

Author:  ncgnet [ Thu Dec 11, 2003 6:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

From Jeffrey Gantz in the Boston Phoenix:

Forget the Rockettes
Even if Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker isn’t really new, it’s still good

Boston Ballet’s children are more fun to watch than the Rockettes, and besides, this Nutcracker’s first act is packed with adult detail.

For all that it’s the most commercially successful dance enterprise since they invented the waltz, The Nutcracker has always been a hard nut for critics. The first act is all story and no (serious) dancing; the second is all dancing and no story; the central character is a little girl who’s too young to dance on pointe or be a romantic lead; and the climactic pas deux is performed by a couple who have the most tenuous connection with what’s gone before. No wonder the ballet’s 1892 premiere was only a modest success. Tchaikovsky biographer David Brown draws the conclusion that “by contrast [with Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty] the story of The Nutcracker was not merely trite, it was pointless. . . . The Nutcracker is meaningless in the profoundest sense.” Critics have largely reacted by deciding it’s a work for children but not adults.


Author:  ncgnet [ Thu Dec 11, 2003 6:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

Globe Correspondent Wendy Killeen in the Boston Globe on various regional and school Nutcracker performances north of Boston:

Nutcracker’ holds spotlight

With all the buzz about Boston Ballet mounting its last production of “The Nutcracker” at the Wang Theatre in Boston this year, local shows are quietly holding steady and growing.

“We are doing better and better,” said Clyde Nantais, executive director of the Boston Dance Company, which presents “The Nutcracker” at Salem State College for the 12th year Dec. 17-20.

“People know that the third week in December there’s a ‘Nutcracker’ at Salem State,” he said. “It’s a holiday tradition.”

And that tradition is holding true for productions of the ballet in Salem, Lynn, Melrose, Medford, and two in Portsmouth, N.H.

Author:  ncgnet [ Sat Dec 13, 2003 6:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nutcracker & other holiday dances Boston 2003

From Thea Singer in the Boston Globe:

‘Urban Nutcracker’ is a nice twist

BalletRox’s “Urban Nutcracker” may be different in intent from other versions of the holiday classic, but what makes it sing (or not) is the same: the quality of the dancing. And therein lie the surprises of this contemporary take on the traditional E.T.A. Hoffmann tale.

The aim of “Urban Nutcracker,” as defined by creator Anthony Williams, is to open up the traditional story to people of all colors and multiple styles of dance. Hence the vocabulary of the show is multilingual: it’s about 50 percent classical ballet (including elements from Boston Ballet founder E. Virginia Williams’s original snow scene), and 50 percent contemporary styles (urban tap, hip-hop, flamenco, swing, and more).

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