Monday Ballet Monday: Nutcracker
NY Times article about Garielle Whittle. Teacher at School of American Ballet, ballet mistress at NYCB, and responsible for casting and shepherding the 105 student dancers cast in the Nutcracker:
TUESDAY, NOV. 25 “Nutcracker” performances can get monotonous for City Ballet dancers. The children’s excitement “gives you a boost of energy,” said the corps dancer Ralph Ippolito.
Watching the first joint company and children’s rehearsal, the battle scene between soldiers and mice, his words resonated. On one side of the studio, petrified youngsters; on the other, professional male dancers, lounging nonchalantly— and clearly tickled by their diminutive foes.
In the middle, the ballet mistresses Rosemary Dunleavy and Ms. Whittle sought to impose order. The chaotic scene demands finely calibrated performances (the corps member Matthew Renko sported a bloodied forehead, courtesy of a child’s errant sword). But its playfulness is irresistible, particularly the moment when each mouse picks up two soldiers and carts them, legs kicking, offstage.
Giggling and blushing abounded. But this year’s bunny, Ever Croffoot-Suede, was daunted by her task of pulling the tail of the Mouse King (a swaggering Henry Seth, brandishing a large, scary sword). She dissolved into a brief crying jag. The adults quickly surrounded her in a comforting circle.
“It’s my first ‘Nutcracker,’ ” she whispered. “And I’m very nervous.”
Buffalo News finds a local hook:
One was British, one was Russian. One wrote books, and the other wrote music. But still, Charles Dickens and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky had a lot on common.
Both of them visited Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Both of them complained. Dickens, visiting in 1867, complained that no good-looking women came to his readings.
Tchaikovsky complained, in May 1891, about the ugly slicker he had to put on when he got on the elevator for the Cave of the Winds tour.
And another thing both men had in common: Neither guessed the influence he would have on Western New York’s holiday seasons for centuries to come.
If in Appleton, Wisconsin:
The Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh is featuring a spectacular "Nutcracker" exhibit. The exhibit features themed rooms, actor-led tours, live music and ballet performances. Scenes from the classic ballet are being displayed in 11 downtown Oshkosh store windows. Guided tours of the Paine are $15 and self-guided tours are $7. http://thepaine.org.
In Washington, the Columbian gives us ‘The Nutcracker’ for dudes. I'm guessing the author, Mary Ann Albright, either doesn't understand dudes or thinks dude is code for gay. Because nowhere in her short list does she mention the primary reason dudes should watch ballet: athletic, bendy women in skimpy costumes. What's her number one reason?
1. A look back in time.
The party scene at the beginning of the ballet is filled with period costumes and mannerisms history buffs will enjoy, said Jan Hurst, executive director of Columbia Dance in Vancouver. Columbia Dance is putting on its 11th full-length “Nutcracker” this month, and Hurst, who choreographed the performance, put her own twists on the fairy tale by E. T. A. Hoffman to which Tchaikovsky’s music is set.
Hurst’s version transplants the story from Europe to New Bedford, Mass. She set the action in 1854 and changed the main family’s name from Stahlbaum to Walbridge, an homage to her own roots. Coming to the Columbia Dance performance will give audiences a window into that part of American history, she said.
Taking a more traditional approach, Vancouver Dance Theatre set its 32nd annual production of “The Nutcracker” in 1890s Germany; costumes during its party scene are reflective of that time and place. Similarly, Capps set Washington State Ballet’s version in a little German town in the mid 1800s.
The Andover Townsman offers a candidate for Dumbest Headline of the Year with:
Girl dances in Boston Ballet's 'Nutcracker'
Girl+dance+ballet = no shit, sherlock. Rewrite or add a few more words to give this some meaning.