A last look at the Joffrey Ballet’s soon-to-be-retired “Nutcracker”

26 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Nutcracker’ to begin Dec. 4.

It always feels out of sync to see “The Nutcracker” in November, well before the holiday that the ballet celebrates. Is it possible that Boston Ballet music director Jonathan McPhee has conducted more performances of “The Nutcracker” than just about anyone in history?

At some point in the 1990s, the Balanchine Trust gave the classic previously known as “The Nutcracker” a much clunkier appellation: “George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker.’ ” This notwithstanding, there will be no fewer than eight productions of the Balanchine versionto be seen this season: New York City Ballet (the parent company, Nov. 27 to Jan. 3); Alabama Ballet (Dec. 11-20); Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (Dec. 11-20); Miami City Ballet (Dec. 5-29); Oregon Ballet Theater (Dec. 11-26); Pacific Northwest Ballet (dancing Balanchine’s version for the first time, Nov. 27-Dec, 28); Pennsylvania Ballet (Dec. 11-31); and the Royal Danish Ballet (Dec. 4-30).Arkansas River Valley residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a holiday classic next week during the Dance Foundation’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.” The Dance Foundation puts on the production every other year, casting accomplished dancers in the roles of the Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy and filling the other roles with local dancers.The Beth Fowler Dance Company will bring its 22nd annual production of the holiday classic ballet “The Nutcracker” to the stage of DeKalb’s Egyptian Theater on Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m. McPhee came to the company in 1988, and since then he estimates he has never led fewer than 24 performances of the beloved Tchaikovsky score each year.

But what I’ve found over the years is that the biggest disrupters at performances aren’t usually their children but them. (Not to mention aunts and uncles, whether real or default.) Fearful that a child may be confused, they narrate along with the dancing. Today, the 15-year-old can’t remember a time when he wasn’t breaking a sweat, be it on the tumbling mat, the soccer pitch or, now, in the ballet studio. Ashley Davis, Dance Foundation executive director, said she is excited about the star power brought by this year’s principal dancers, Cory Stearns, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre in New York, and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, a soloist with the Royal Ballet in London.

Though “The Nutcracker” was first performed in Russia in 1892 to Tchaikovsky’s music and tells a German story written by a Frenchman, it has evolved through the years into a favorite beloved American ballet. In memory of Vasili Vainonen and Gusztáv Oláh, the Opera is now about to present for Christmas of 2015 a newly buffed-up show that follows classical ballet traditions while still conforming to the requirements of 21st century dance and set design. Now, it’s the brigade of the Christmas performance specials like round-the-clock marathons of Home Alone, The Santa Claus and A Christmas Story, and plays like A Christmas Carol and the classic Nutcracker. Partnering with Tamás Solymosi to choreograph a new fairy-tale ballet for the classical-music piece will be a true Nutcracker specialist: the internationally renowned Wayne Eagling. The company gives three performances over two days at Centre Pierre Péladeau, beginning Dec. 5 then takes the production on the road, visiting Victoriaville, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Trois-Rivières.

Everyone knows the storyline and everyone has probably seen a version of this every year since they were 3, but here’s a refresher: a young girl receives the gift of a nutcracker from her mysterious uncle and when she goes to bed that night she awakes surrounded by a slew of characters and a magical fairytale land. Local ballet dancers who will share the stage are Tran Hoang Yen (Admiral doll), Nguyen Thu Trang (Clara), Ho Phi Diep (Nutcracker), Dam Duc Nhuan (Mr. The story has endeared itself with audiences completely and become a much-beloved ballet production, so much so that there are many iterations in Houston this holiday season as well as around the world.

Audiences can enjoy the new production in the performance of several casts including Lili Felméry (Étoile of the 2015/16 season), Aliya Tanykpayeva (Étoile of the 2013/14 season), Zoltán Oláh (Étoile of the 2012/13 and 2014/15 seasons), Gergely Leblanc (Dance artist of the 2014/15 season awarded by the Association of Hungarian Dance Artists), and recently contracted soloist Tatiana Melnik. Drosselmeyer) and Pham The Phuong (Rat King). “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” and “The Sleeping Beauty” by Tchaikovsky are among the world’s most famous ballets. This season, after “The Nutcracker,” he’ll conduct the second week of “Onegin” and all of “Swan Lake.” Starting the following season, he’ll be the company’s music director emeritus, with his conducting schedule yet to be determined.

And “La Bruja,” in which a lock of her hair comes loose (as Ginger Rogers’s does in the great one-take “I’ll Be Hard to Handle” in the Astaire-Rogers film “Roberta”), whereupon she soon does an astoundingly brisk plunge into a near-kneel without breaking the phrase: I have been revisiting the YouTube clips of Mr. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and may be purchased at Whitson-Morgan Pre-Owned, All That Dance, Just Dance, Jane Freeman’s Studio of Dance in Dardanelle, The Center for the Arts or www.nutcracker2015.eventbrite.com.

If you don’t want your child to talk during a performance, do what I do: Pour a handful of M&M’s — or any pellet-size candy — into his or her lap. (Skirts are ideally shaped; for pants, add a napkin.) Explain the candy rules: Stay calm; eat one at a time. Hoffmann and has been choreographed by many popular artists, including Marius Petipa, Alexander Gorsky, Nicholas Sergeyev, Alexandra Fedorova, Willam Christensen, and George Balanchine. To optimize the viewing experience, here is a guide — in order of calendar appearance and including some options for older audiences — to help you decide on the right “Nutcracker.” I was a pretty good camp counselor, but I don’t know your child. Learn more at http://sarahlkaufman.com/ and Facebook SarahLKaufmanWriter View Archive The orchestra, too, lacked power in its performance of the Tchaikovsky, especially in the battle scene.

In this age, why should only a few thousand people have seen Ashley Bouder in “Donizetti Variations,” Herman Cornejo in “Sinatra Suite,” Jeanette Delgado in “Square Dance,” Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild in “Duo Concertant,” Sara Mearns in “Walpurgisnacht Ballet,” Gillian Murphy in “Sylvia,” Tiler Peck in the “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux” or Teresa Reichlen in “Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2”? The choreography arrangements have exposed the strengths and skills of local dancers combined with costumes and stage set-up to bring audiences into a fairy tale.

Elliott, who has worked with Stevenson directly, says the stakes are high. “The chance to perform this role, in this production, for this year, is a really big deal to me. He led the Royal Philharmonic when Boston Ballet played the London Coliseum in 2013 and the Boston Ballet Orchestra for the company’s dates last year at New York’s Lincoln Center.

That ballet touches zones of joy in ways rare in any art; and the many New Yorkers who watched it one morning at Symphony Space were further elated by that remarkable cast. I just want to make him proud and make sure that I do it justice.“ Like the Houston Ballet, Houston Dance Theatre has staged The Nutcracker for more than 30 years. Nutcracker The ballet, Christmas gift, audiences, international artists, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Surely there is no prettier first act in the annals of “Nutcrackers” than this one, with its Victorian Christmas-card colors and the fluid way dancing is woven all through it, whether in the cleanly channeled high spirits of the children or the modest waltzes of their parents. ABT persisted: “What are your dates?” McPhee said he was doing Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. “Fine,” was the response, “we’ll take Wednesday night, Friday night, and Sunday. Members of my family in England now watch London theater, opera and ballet on a regular basis on screen in the rural town where I went to my first school. The dance company’s musicality proves useful as Jackson particularly considers the production’s “Waltz of the Flowers” to be a point of pride, calling their interpretation of rich movement gorgeous. “The tutus have many different layers of tulle and net.

We’ll have a car waiting, and we’ll just take you to the airport.” “I did that for two weeks,” McPhee recalls, “two different versions of ‘The Nutcracker.’ That was the almost-killed-me ‘Nutcracker’ year.” There were different challenges when he arrived at Boston Ballet. The director and choreographer Austin McCormick revives his naughty version — a blend of burlesque and baroque — in which Cherries strip down to pasties and the Arabian dance takes place on a pole, and not the kind found in the North. And when the dancers jump, all the different colors come out so it looks like different colored flowers waltzing across the stage.” City Ballet of Houston has two Nutcrackers for Houston audiences.

Never has a “Nutcracker” made better use of little ones or given them more responsibility; they command the stage with good cheer and peppy acrobatics in the Mother Ginger sequence, for instance. About “95 percent” of the Ballet’s orchestra members, he says, played with the Pops as well, so they weren’t always available for “Nutcracker” performances.

The traditional staging, which the company has shown annually for 30 years, has the Victorian setting and ornate choreography, costuming, and sets that audiences have come to expect from the timeless fairytale. Experiencing this 1954 classic is more than addictive; it’s nourishing, from the opening party scene to the magnificent tree, which grows to 40 feet, from 12. It was kind of like Swiss cheese, there were musical holes throughout the whole thing.” The Ballet’s finance committee told him that adding more musicians would cost too much. And yet, the children make the best audiences. “They cheer and clap as if this was the most magical event they have ever seen!” The Inner City Nutcracker will be at Jones Hall on Dec. 1. But as with any ballet, “The Nutcracker” needs to be performed with full commitment, as if its cast and production team believe it’s the best “Nutcracker” on earth.

So he did his own arrangement of the score for a reduced number of musicians, one that would ensure, he says, “the musical integrity was intact.” After the Wang Center declined to renew the Ballet’s “Nutcracker” contract, the company went to the Colonial Theatre in 2004, with a pit that, McPhee says, would hold just 14 musicians. “So we put two-thirds of the orchestra in the trap room behind the pit, and they basically watched me on the huge TV. You demonstrate and he just does it.” Picone takes a company class with Ballet Ouest when his schedule permits, which gives him a chance to be around other male dancers and to observe how the professional dance world functions.

They had no arms, no legs, they were these little glowing orbs that moved around.” Even through those difficult days, however, McPhee drew upon a strong musical foundation. Picone is growing fast and Caron is helping him develop his upper body and leg strength, but he is still a little young to be doing some of the larger lifts executed by adult princes, so Caron has made the necessary adjustments. And audience members, seated at tables, are welcome to hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. “The cozy setting really makes our guests feel like they are a part of the story.” Dec 3–13.

And both Robert Irving and Hugo Fiorato, who were the staff conductors at City Ballet, used to come up here and do the ‘Nutcrackers.’ So that musical tradition for Boston when I first came in was very closely connected to NYCB. Francis Patrelle celebrates the 20th anniversary of “The Yorkville Nutcracker,” which is set in 1895 and includes a party scene at Gracie Mansion and a snowflake-skating scene in Central Park. Diana Byer’s New York Theater Ballet returns with this “Nutcracker,” set in the Art Nouveau style of 1907 and featuring set designs by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith and costumes by Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan, the Metropolitan Opera’s resident costume designer.

The show is especially designed for children from 2 to 8 years old, so if you’re skeptical about the candy-in-the-lap routine, but still want the “Nutcracker” experience, this is a safe bet. The party scene is a raucous delight, but there are moments of incandescent beauty, too, including the snow scene, in which dancers throw glittery stuff; and the tender, romantic pas de deux. Clara’s father, played by James Washington, a former member of Dance Theater of Harlem, is an African-American ambassador to Liberia; Clara’s mother is white. Clara invites them inside. (This spirit goes beyond the show: The company offers a free performance for homeless families, children with special needs and the elderly.) And as for the Land of the Sweets?

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