A Gilded 'Nutcracker,' Rusty in Spots
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 5, 2005; Page C01
All the spectacle and cheer you could wish for are stuffed into the Washington Ballet's "Nutcracker," where parasol-wielding dancers line up to form a shimmering giant fish in the Chinese Dance, and clown-faced tots tumble forth from a spinning merry-go-round. In Artistic Director Septime Webre's version, which opened Friday at the Warner Theatre, the element of nostalgia that draws families again and again to the Christmas tale is heightened with the ballet's setting in a Georgetown mansion, where Frederick Douglass is among the party guests and the entertainment features a dancing John Paul Jones and a Kachina doll.
Webre's elaborately costumed affair, which premiered last year, gives the ballet a fresh look, and he has injected touches of mischief and humor into the first-act gathering of champagne-downing adults and roguish children. But Webre needs to be as attentive to the details as he is to the big, boisterous picture.