CriticalDance Forum

San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003
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Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

More about the "blackout" performance: I'd like to see what Garrett Anderson does with his makeup in the party scene, because his paunch and his character were entertaining. Without special makeup and hair, though, he just looked like a young, fit dancer who is inexplicably roly-poly. The Christmas tree couldn't grow -- it just sat there during the growing music, then ignominiously exited stage left.

Vanessa Zahorian and Stephen Legate looked more than fine as the Snow K&Q, and looked good together. They both have beautiful freedom and expansiveness to their upper body movements. I was able to appreciate Christensen's choreography for the snow scene even more since I recently saw a video of Nureyev's choreography for the POB. Christensen's choreography is so clean and musical; I can't say the same for Nureyev's.

In the 2nd act, the man who was a substitute for Hansuke Yamamoto in Chinese Tea had a very crisp, light jumps and an expressive face. I'm afraid I didn't catch his name when it was announced, and I didn't recognize his face in the SFB website. Yamamoto filled in for Guennadi Nedviguine in the Russian dance, and was very exciting. So were James Sofranko and ___________ (I don't have my program with me and, again, I can't recognize his face).

Oh, dear -- I have to get back to work (graveyard shift), so I'll write about the SPF and her cavalier later.

Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 22, 2003 8:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

According to my program, Pablo Piantino was the third man in the Russian dance. The face I remember seeing didn't look like Piantino's photo, but I guess it could have been him. Anyway, whoever it was, all three men were excellent.

Lorena Feijoo and Ruben Martin started very well in the grand pas de deux, with only one slightly shaky moment -- until the end, that is. I'm always waiting for the ballerina to have to step out of the final attitude, and it finally happened, alas. It was surprising, because they looked so secure going into it. I guess Feijoo recovered well, because my mother didn't even notice that anything was wrong. Martin's solo went smoothly. He looked strong, but for me he lacked some spark to make his dancing rise above just technically strong. Feijoo's variation was performed very well, but I don't think she cracked a smile at all after the end of the adagio. That was too bad, because those alternating single/double fouettes in the finale should have made her smile.

I think Tina LeBlanc uses her feet better than anyone I can think of at the moment. She gives me the impression that she could dance on eggshells without cracking any. Her Butterfly exemplified everything I like in a ballet dancer: strength, smoothness, springy jumps, musicality, a fully-moving upper body, and a face that can't help but show how much she likes dancing.

Author:  Azlan [ Wed Dec 24, 2003 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

This of the blackout causing one cancellation:

SF power back up

Mielikki Org
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Contra Costa Times

SAN FRANCISCO - San Franciscans enjoyed their first day of full power on Monday after a Saturday night blackout snarled traffic, shut down two transit stations and left downtown stores in the dark at the height of the holiday shopping season. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Author:  crandc [ Mon Dec 29, 2003 12:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

My attempt to go to the Nutcracker was successful!!!! This may not seem like such a big deal to most here but it was the first time in 12 12 years I have been able to attend an indoor public event without walking out sick in the middle (and I long ago stopped even trying).
I am writing to SFB to thank them for the outstanding efforts of a woman in ticket sales. When I explained the problem she reviewed all the dates and decided the 12/26 evening performance would be best for me as it does not have big crowds. Also, there is a section at Opera House that they only open up when they are expecting large crowds, but she said she would sell me a ticket in that section since I had special needs. Odds were I would have no neighbors. Normally they don't allow people to move even if there are empty seats but she also passed a "heads up" to the ushers that I might have to move for health reasons.
(An irony here: the place where I've worked for 3 1/2 years had another holiday party that excluded me. They use public restaurants, knowing I can't go, for every celebration of any kind. They say it is too much trouble to arrange a private room or a catered event. But SFB, who don't know me, have no obligation to me, and my one ticket does not make a real financial difference, took the trouble to see that I could go.)
OK, the performance. I am impressed by how well SFB coaches the children in the party scene. It must not be easy to get the younger kids to do their roles properly but they all shone. Good to see a real diversity among the children although I had to remind my self this was 19th century when the girls all sat with their dolls while the boys leaped around the stage!
The king and queen of snow (Vanessa Zahorian and Stephen Legate) bursting in always wakes up everyone who got drowsy during the party scene! I agree with djb, they are very well matched together.
Of all the divertissements the Russian was head and shoulders above the rest. I found myself wondering if Hansuke Yamamato had Cossack ancestry (Russo-Japanese war, maybe?), he was so marvelous at this dance; his leaps looked like he had springs in his feet. There was a gap of several seconds between the entry of the dancers and the start of the music for the dance; was that a boo-boo? Also agree with Toba Singer that the headdresses in the Arabian, both the man's and the woman's, were too large. I think a simple veil for the woman and small turban for the man would be in keeping without overwhelming.
Found myself calculating the odds that Mother Ginger would have 8 children, all girls which I guess is why some people hate bringing scientists to fantasies! Seriously, it was a fun dance and I'm sure the girls enjoyed it, especially the naughty littlest child.
I've always liked the dance of the flowers, maybe because I just love the music! Katita Waldo was Butterfly. I've not seen a lot of her, basically just in Othello and there could hardly be two more different ballets than Othello and Nutcracker . She did not really look like a butterfly but her solos brought focus to the dance that frankly was a bit too cluttered. I understand the students from the SFB school dance this and commendably they want to involve as many as they can, but the stage was just too crowded. Without Waldo giving focus it would have been a mob scene, as it was I enjoyed it. Also agree with Toba on the costumes. The skirts were OK but the tan bodices, from where I sat, made the young women almost look topless!
A minor disappointment was that the Web site had listed Julie Diana as Sugarplum Fairy but it was actualy danced by Kristin Long. No knock on Long, but I have a special fondness for Diana. However, I was not disappointed for long (sorry, no pun intended, honest) because she was absolutely fabulous. She was partnered by Nicolas Blanc, whom I have not seen before but would definitely like to see again. He is not very tall, but graceful and handsome (photo does not do him justice) and looks very good in tights :D The pair got long and loud applause, deservedly so.
I found myself grinning like an idiot the whole performance, just because I was able to go.

Author:  djb [ Mon Dec 29, 2003 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

I'm glad you were able to attend. It's good to know that the SFB box office was so helpful (although it's not surprising).

The lack of music for the opening individual entrances in the Russian dance is not a mistake -- or perhaps I should say it's intentional, because I think it is a mistake, choreographically.

Oh, those tan bodices on the flower costumes! The final pose of the Waltz of the Flowers is beautiful, but it was so much more beautiful with more colorful costumes.

<small>[ 29 December 2003, 03:57 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  crandc [ Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

I did write to them to thank them. They did not reply. Guess even SFB has the same attitude towards letters from customers as all other businesses? :confused:
Actually, there was a bit of a hint in my letter because I said I did not think the arrangements would work during the regular repertory season. I was kind of hoping someone would write back and say oh yes we can work something out....
Oh well. I had one lovely evening.

Author:  mehunt [ Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

I'm glad you wrote to them! The people in the box office for SFB are particularly nice, and I've always found them to be really helpful. It's the only ticket office I've ever gone to where they actually have always recognized me, from the days when I bought standing room tickets, right up til now.

I'll bet that if you were to enquire again during the repertory season they'd do their best to help you.

Author:  DavidH [ Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

It is a very nice box office and they still regognize me as well from season to season.

I agree with ME Crandc. I've been to many regular rep programs on weeknights with lots of emtpy seats on the main floor at least. Particularly the Wednesday night show - which has an earlier curtain then other nights I believe. Check it out.


Author:  Azlan [ Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

crandc, try sending an email. That usually gets a faster response. And, yes, they are very helpful at the box office there. In fact, I can't think of any other box office staff that is so pleasant to deal with, so helpful AND so efficient.

Author:  Ima_Dancer [ Tue Jan 13, 2004 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

I think SFB's physical box office closes (they're ticketing-by-phone is open, though) for a few weeks after Nutcracker and re-opens on Gala day. You may still get a response, so just be patient.

<small>[ 13 January 2004, 03:44 PM: Message edited by: Ima_Dancer ]</small>

Author:  Azlan [ Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 'Nutcracker' 2003

I was inspired a new topic:

- <a href=;f=11;t=001844>Who would have thought? An amazingly accommodating box office staff!</a>

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