CriticalDance Forum

Tell Us About Your Favorite Nutcracker
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Tell Us About Your Favorite Nutcracker

Now that Nutcracker Season is getting into full swing, tell us about your favorite Nutcracker -- there are so many versions from which to choose -- and what makes it special for you. Mine happens to be the production at Ballet West. I am thrilled to hear that former Ballet Mistress Bene Arnold has been by the new artistic leadership to come back and touch up the Willam Christensen choreography. Of course, I am also partial to Pacific Northwest Ballet's Stowell/Sendak production -- but for entirely different reasons. Let's hear from you!

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:59 pm ]
Post subject: 

I love the Hard Nut, which may not officially qualify, but I think it does.

I love that it is so tongue in cheek, especially in the party scene. The maid on pointe, the mom in drag, the French dancers in haute couture, the snowflakes throwing snow at each other and offstage. I love it.

I also love the design. It's bold and fresh and so much more interesting than all the usual pastel boringness in most ballet productions.

Author:  Dean Speer [ Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

1. Ballet West for its balance of production values, choreography, and dancing. For its first-rate Grand Pas de deux.
2. PNB's for its amazing and unique production values and Snow scene.
3. Ballet San Jose's Act II Ballroom -- a grand formal waltz for couples; replaces Waltz of the Petunias.
4. Balanchine's Waltz of the Flowers and Dewdrop; Mirlitons is quite good.
5. Whidbey Dance Theatre (WA State) for its Act II that is "underwater" -- particularly fine is the Arabian Dance -- mermaids who come out of oyster shells and dance with large, gray pearls.
6. Chehalis Ballet Center (dba "SW WA Dance Center) for their full-scale Chinese Dragon. Memorable also for the time moms mutinied about having their lovely young daughters wear Santa hats when they popped out from Mother Ginger's skirt -- and who "stole" and then hid the hats away from the assistant stage manager and costume folk; later to be found in a white plastic bag behind a podium stored backstage.
7. SFB for its new Act I's charming and imaginative scenery and coals in its Christmas sock for an arid Act II -- there's virtually no set at all.
8. Evergreen Ballet Center (WA State) for the time while on tour to a small town in Oregon (Clatskanie) the growing Christmas Tree collapsed in a heap on the stage just a Clara was coming up to it.
9. Memorable too was the time someone who had seen me dance in California who asked me to guest w/their production in WA State in, yes, another small dairy community (Snohomish) where when we got to what was supposed to be music for Arabian, got instead "Boom-chinka, chinka, Boom-chinka, chinka" -- and out came a platoon of scantily clad belly dancers who then did their "thing."
10. Same production -- I kept asking "Who am I going to be dancing with?" (Grand Pas de deux, etc.); when I finally arrived for the first rehearsal, yep, it was the director's rather heavy set (but nice and hard working) daughter.
11. See Number 6 -- when during the Russian Dance (which I happened to have choreographed) and the 3 men were supposed to be flipping over each over horizontially (push-up position), one of the cast B guys who never quite got the timing right, during one performance was so off and so in danger of really messing up and perhaps banging into the other two, that one of men actually pushed this poor young man to floor and held him there -- the right choice! ["Stay down! Don't move! Or you'll really mess us up!"] :shock:
12. See Number 1 -- the first time I saw it (in Portland, OR), it moved me to tears, as it was so beautiful.
13. Any number of community productions where the work is sincere and cleanly done.

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