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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker


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dance1soccer1

Clara was lovely, and my DD had a student friend who was in the first scene in Act II, as a (dragonfly?) I forget what she told me the name of the part was. It was exciting to see "familiar" faces. DD said a trainee friend was in snow and flowers as well. The sets were impressive and the little children were so adorable. I've not seen the company dance since I was a teenager, so it was a thrill to see them on PBS.

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  • Mel Johnson

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I have to agree with Hans about the spotty choreography. Sometimes, it had that look of inevitability and absolute rightness that characterizes good choreographic choice, and sometimes it just looked like steps that were being done while music was playing - it could have been ANY music. That's a mark of bad choreographic choice. Many of the dances lacked a sense of structure.

 

LOVED the street scene!

 

I'm not sure that I agree with all the musical cuts in the parlor scene, but then, it's not my production, is it?

 

Drosselmeyer is firmly established early on as kindly, generous and good. That's fine, and it still sets up a logic/magic interplay which is essential to a successful Nutcracker, but my standard objection to having him around after the transformation of the Nutcracker into a real young man still stands. And where does the young man go during most of Act II, leaving Clara and Drosselmeyer to preside over the divertissement (a slight eeww factor)? Does he run out to Sausalito for a short beer?

 

I still don't like Snow Kings and Queens. Pavlova's been gone a long time, and I don't see any good reason to preserve her vaudeville act. This setting was better than most,though. . The stage transformation into the fir forest was designed to be slow and rather visible, to allow the audience to revel in "stage magic". Productions that can do these kinds of transformations should allow it to do its work for the audience.

 

Corps work was well-executed by a very well-matched ensemble, but the groupings were so open that it looked as if there were fewer dancers than there actually were. That's not necessarily bad, but it loses the force made by massed dancers.

 

I still say that nobody shoots ballet the way Emile Ardolino did. I think that a lot of the force of some acting scenes and even some of the dances was lost by cutting close to an individual dancer while other things in the total stage picture were going on. Shooting ballet is a specialized art in itself.

 

Gorgeous sets and costumes! I just wonder if the "San Francisco fog" motif were a bit more in the design concept than should have been. Both the snow scene and Act II were kind of grey-beige throughout. Of course, this effect could have been from a translation of stage lighting to a different medium.

 

On the whole, though, a pretty good version.

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Mrs. Stahlbaum

I didn't watch the perfomance on tv, but I have the DVD. The DVD has interviews with the choreographer, set designer and costume director that I enjoyed watching. Also a documentary on the 1915 World's Fair that served as their inspiration. I'm guessing those "extras" weren't aired on tv, but make the DVD worth purchasing if you're into that kind of thing (like I am).

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We watched this on PBS last night! We were really taken with the set and costumes!! They were just lovely :grinning: . We enjoyed the dancing immensely. I am no expert, but I do agree with Mr. Johnson. :lol:

There was something lacking in some of the choreography at times - for instance, during dance of the sugar plum fairy, at times the dance was spot on, and in the middle, I kind of couldn't understand why there were certain steps in it - they just didn't seem to go with the music at all. But overall our family really enjoyed it, and we probably will buy the DVD. Gotta support them, after all!!

I do have one question however...we were worried about the dancers for the snow scene. Did anyone think that there was WAY TOO MUCH coming down?? We were concerned someone might slip and fall!!! It really looked like A LOT of snow to us. Did anyone else feel that?

 

Mobadt :D

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Saw the performance, and loved it! I tend to agree with Mr. Mel about the choreography, but on the other hand, it would make for a good example of a Nut performance produced by ballet schools and academies. Watching professional dancers, I sometimes couldn't help feel disconnected because their technique and artistry are so far above and beyond mine. The SFB performance, with the lesser complicated choreo was easier for me to relate to (as a student Nutcracker performer myself).

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Thank you, Flygirl!!! :lol:

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Do you know when this was filmed? I know I could look it up but I am being basically lazy. We know people who were in SFB's nutcracker in the past several years but couldn't find them and were hoping that by knowing we could at least figure out who to look for.

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Who was Sugar Plum?

 

I fell asleep :lol: with jetlag after being delayed until the wee hours of the morning into sunny Florida :grinning: .

 

It was very nice to see what little I did see. Snow scene was nice, but like Mel said, some of the choreography was very academic, spotty and odd. I did like the little dragonfly, etc. opening of act II. Sadly, I don't remember anything after that.

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It was fun to watch with DD who, after having spent summer '07 at SF SI, new (Clara) and others (now trainees) in the production. Snow Queen (sooooo pretty) Yuan Yuan Tan had been DD's guest teacher and had coached her on variations. Fun for me to get to see DD's excitement and SFB pride! Loved the set design and through-line on costuming (attention to dye bath, design, etc.). Must be a great production to see live. :thumbsup:

 

[edited to remove names of minors per BT4D policy].

Edited by dancemaven
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I do have one question however...we were worried about the dancers for the snow scene. Did anyone think that there was WAY TOO MUCH coming down?? We were concerned someone might slip and fall!!! It really looked like A LOT of snow to us. Did anyone else feel that?

 

Mobadt :thumbsup:

 

That was one thing about the snow scene that I most admired -- it had ENOUGH snow! Ballets-féeries (enchantment ballets) are all about opulence, and that even extends to the snow! It's a blizzard, a near white-out, a natural wonder that people can see in Petersburg (and elsewhere) that is recreated in a theater. It's part of the stage magic. Although I did agree with the design concept of modeling the Act II set after a conservatory/orangerie, I found it visually displeasing that it was so vacant! It didn't have to be full of confectionery, but plenty of exotic plants would have been nice. Ah well. The Stahlbaum/Silberhaus's house was nice from an opulence point of view. And I have to repeat that I loved the streetscape and the establishing action.

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drat! I missed it!!

 

(assuming that the PBS channel I receive actually showed it)

 

:angry:

 

 

 

:thumbsup: There is a Canadian one on tonight - hopefully I can catch that (if my nephew's hockey doesn't trump it...live stream from the hockey game, so we will be conflicted.........)

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:thumbsup: Yes, mom2, our PBS in Ottawa showed it last night - I caught some of it, not all, but was very impressed with the dancing from all dancers, such wonderful technique and musicality, although I did feel the choreography lacked direction in some places, but overall, great performance. I missed the first Act, but watched the rest, well almost, truth be told, I fell asleep during the Waltz of the Flowers :angry: ...busy week at the office!
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Do you know when this was filmed? I know I could look it up but I am being basically lazy. We know people who were in SFB's nutcracker in the past several years but couldn't find them and were hoping that by knowing we could at least figure out who to look for.

 

 

 

This link talks about the production. It was filmed last December.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/dan...troduction/428/

 

Production Credits:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/dan...on-credits/448/

 

We've seen the SFB Nut several times & always, always love it. This was fun to watch, although, Snow in person is breathtaking, so we did miss being able to be in the audience this year.

My daughter recognized a boy that she was with at SFB in 2007, & at Juilliard this last summer. That was fun for her!

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