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 Post subject: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:02 pm 
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OBT begins the holiday season with performances of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker" in Anchorage, Alaska. Anne Herman reviews the performance on Friday afternoon, November 28, 2008 in the Anchorage Daily News:

Anchorage Daily News


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:21 pm 
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In The Oregonian, Grant Butler talks to OBT Artistic Director Christopher Stowell and dancers Daniela DeLoe, Mia Leimkuhler and Olga Krochik about some of the challenges of performing the snow scene in George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker," which opens at Keller Auditorium in Portland on Friday, December 12 and extends through December 24:

The Oregonian


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:39 pm 
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Catherine Thomas reviews the performance in The Oregonian:

The Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:43 pm 
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Martha Ullman West reviews the Saturday, December 12, 2009 matinee performance of "The Nutcracker" in The Oregonian.

The Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:16 pm 
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A review of the cast from the matinee performance of Sunday, December 20, 2009 by Martha Ullman West in The Oregonian.

The Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:23 pm 
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The 2010 production of the Balanchine "Nutcracker" will open at the Saturday, December 11, 2010 matinee. Grant Butler previews the performance in The Oregonian.

The Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:45 pm 
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In The Oregonian, Martha Ullman West reviews the Saturday, December 11, 2010 matinee performance of Balanchine's "The Nutcracker."

The Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:57 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
An Easy Nut To Crack
Oregon Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”
Opening Saturday Matinee, 11 December 2010
Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon

by Dean Speer

When Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Christopher Stowell, had the wisdom, foresight, and ability to acquire George Balanchine’s iconic 1954 “The Nutcracker,” it was a fortuitous venture indeed. OBT is the only company west of the Mississippi that performs the Balanchine "Nutcracker.".

Lucky for Portland and lucky for OBT as it’s given them a “brand” that has become closely associated as a company calling card.

Choreographically, Balanchine is at his best here in the two, large group dances – the Snowflakes that conclude Act I and the Waltz of the Flowers that precedes the Grand Pas de Deux [the climax of the ballet – which everyone expectantly awaits whether they know it or not].

It’s also thin in a couple of places, particularly the bed swirling about the stage carrying a prone Marie, whereas most productions have something like a Snow King and Queen Pas de Deux instead. Really, its glorious music is, I believe, squandered here...not to mention the poor (uncredited)“bed boy” having to maneuver this thing smoothly from underneath while trying to peer through white sheer bed skirts.

Thrilling in the Grand Pas de Deux were Yuka Iino, Sugar Plum Fairy and Chauncey Parsons, her Cavalier. OBT is lucky to have both, particularly a male find like Parsons who has it all – the line and carriage of a danseur noble, terrific technique, and solid partnering skills. Hewell deserves his Principal Dancer title, as does Iino with her ability to make endless turns, display fearless technique, and show her radiant smile and joy in what she does.

Balanchine here, and in the person of Dewdrop [Candace Bouchard], throws at them some of the most difficult, challenging yet satisfying and fun steps and sequences of the ballet vocabulary. Fouettées in unusual combinations, piqué balances, gargouillades for the women and double tours, coupé jeté in attitude en menage, and multiple pirouettes including grand relevé a la seconde for Parsons. Very exciting indeed.

Outstanding too were Kathi Martuza as Coffee, in a part revised and created for the great Gloria Govrin. Martuza brought her considerable gifts to each nuance of this mysterious solo – strength, accuracy, suspension in balances and turns.

Javier Ubell in Chinese Tea displayed his amazing elevation and ease of execution of allegro steps.

Trying for a date was the outrageously funny buffoon of the drag Mother Ginger, courtesy of guest artist Kevin Poe. A giantess on stilts, Ginger mocks herself as well as flirting with the audience, “directing” one member to call her on the phone. The platoon of kids who pop out from her circus tent-sized skirt are all well schooled and trained students from OBT’s academy.

Even though the company did not get an orchestra rehearsal [budget, I presume], the mighty OBT Orchestra never the less sounded quite good, with Niel DePonte at the baton, accompanying the dancers and choreography seamlessly.

OBT’s Balanchine “The Nutcracker” is a really good time at the ballet. Portlanders should flock to and support this production, and hopefully through this support, restore live orchestra for every show, not just half the run. Nothing replaces acoustic music and sound and this production sings and soars at its best when musicians fill the pit.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:44 pm 
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Heather Wisner reviews the December 18, 2010 matinee performance of "The Nutcracker" in Willamette Week. (Scroll past the "Holiday Revue" portion or the review.)

Willamette Week


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Anne Adams reviews the 2010 production in Portland Monthly.

Portland Monthly


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:02 pm 
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Martha Ullman West reviews the opening performance at the Saturday matinee, December 10, 2011 for The Oregonian.

The Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:31 am 
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Cranberry Confections
Oregon Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker”
Keller Auditorium, Saturday, 10 December 2011

by Dean Speer

Located in Bandon on the dramatic and rugged Oregon coast, aficionados of Northwest treats will quickly recognize Cranberry Sweets as the purveyor of one of the best exports this cranberry capital has to offer.

Located in downtown Portland at Keller Auditorium is the cranberry colored front drop that’s used for Oregon Ballet Theatre’s production of Balanchine’s “Nutcracker,” which gave us ballet-goers the feel and sense of the holiday treat we were all in for during this opening performance of their annual December run.

"Nut" is paired with a terrific show created last year, OBT’s “Holiday Revue." The lobby was paired with a nut roaster, from which the wonderfully pungent scents of cinnamon roasted walnuts captivated us each time we entered.

Some of the best aspects of the Balanchine “Nutcracker” are its two, large ensemble pieces – the Dance of the Snowflakes and in Act II, the Waltz of the Flowers.

One of my writer colleagues has commented on the high technical level demanded by the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and of the Dewdrop [who leads the Flowers]. I would add to that list the lead Marzipan Shepherdess, very ably danced by Julia Rowe, who essayed her assignment with aplomb. The five Shepherdesses really engage and deploy many, if not nearly all, aspects of that ballet technique speciality – pointe work. That and it’s interesting choreography. Piqués, coupé relevés, pirouettes, “walks” – passe pieds through the ballet positions done sharply and precisely.

Instead of a typical Russian character dance, this version has dancing Candy Canes, one of whom – Chauncey Parsons – whips his hula hoop under his legs and then over his whole body, while in the air. His saut de chats á la seconde [mid-air splits in second position with both legs to side, in line with the ears], perfectly etched and hovering. His buoyancy and lightness were exciting and refreshing.

Javier Ubell’s elevation in the extended and traveling jumps of Chinese Tea delighted and lifted us up onto the edges of our seats, as did the charm of the two attendants, Elle Shelby and Elizabeth Shew.

Thomas Baker’s playful and over-the-top [big top, literally] drag Mother Ginger was a snappy and lively vignette, unleashed a batch of “Polichinelles” whose cheerful skipping and bright visages were appropriately perky and fun.

OBT is fortunate to have snagged one of the best ballet dancers around in the personage of Dewdrop Yuka Iino who clearly showed the technical demands of the Balanchine choreography.

Speaking of unleashing, it was a pleasure to enjoy OBT’s newest pas de deux couple, principals, Haiyan Wu [Sugar Plum] and her Cavalier, Yang Zou. Wu’s strength and experience were clear, as was Zou’s partnering, yet she exhibited some opening night nerves; I’m confident that a relaxed demeanor will be 100 percent there as they settle into the run. My one piece of coaching advice would be for her to mitigate how she expresses “Wow, look at this” via an open mouth. This is an unnecessary habit that cloys at the audience. A regular and real smile would serve better.

A grand afternoon at the ballet, with the full and mighty OBT Orchestra, led by maestro Niel DePonte.

Both shows, having lifted our spirits, sent us out into the scented atmosphere, sighing and looking for more cranberry sweets.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:57 pm 
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Oregon Ballet Theatre presents Balanchine's "The Nutcracker," December 8-23, 2012 at Portland's Keller Hall. Here is a link to the "Nutcracker" page on the OBT website.

Nutcracker

There is a casting button on the page.


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Grant Butler previews "The Nutcracker" for the Oregonian.

Oregonian


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon Ballet Theatre Nutcracker
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:43 pm 
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Catherine Thomas reviews the Saturday, December 8, 2012 matinee performance of "The Nutcracker" for the Oregonian.

Oregonian


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