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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

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PBS, Sunday night Dec 21 The SFB Nutcracker is on "Great Performances" again.I missed it the other night too, so I'm glad to see that it's on again. I'm not sure if it's on in all areas, though.

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  • Mel Johnson


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I enjoyed the production quite a bit, especially the blizzard of a snow scene. Also appreciated the Chinese variation with dragon dancers. So many versions of Chinese are just plain inauthentic and offensive. This one was tasteful , and lovely. I loved the element of SF history in the staging.


I hate to say it, but I thought the children looked a bit under-rehearsed, especially in act two with "Madame de Cirque" They were adorable and talented, but they just looked out of synch too much (even for children). I felt the same way about the ribbon dancers, although I adored the idea of making it a can-can. So amazing to have a live orchestra that can add some embellishments to the score.


Overall, I loved it:) I DVR'd and will watch again (was in and out while cooking dinner). I am attending SF Youth ballet's version this weekend to see some friends dance, and just finished mine last weekend. Getting "nutcracker-d out" LOL:)


So many Nutcrackers in the Bay area!!! I wish I could see them all, but chose to buy tickets to productions my friends are guesting in. I like the idea of supporting smaller schools anyway. But would definitely love to see SF ballet, Ballet San Jose, and Oakland Ballet too! Oh, and Peninsula as well. Wow...lots of Nutcrackers here.

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I did notice some things about the "Madame de Cirque" number which I found rather droll. The teddy bear's material seemed to be a "theme and variations" on the bear from scene IV of "Petrouchka". Also, the children were actually dressed as Pulcinellas, who is a black-and-white commedia dell'arte character.

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MARIA KOCHETKOVA, is very, very good. :D It is on today again and I enjoyed it even more -- perhaps, because I could stay awake through the whole thing.


Everyone should try to see this if they have the opportunity.

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Victoria Leigh

I finally watched it yesterday. I really liked the first act, especially the sets and costumes. There was some fine dancing by the principals throughout, especially the males! The young Clara was delightful, and very pretty!


Disappointed in ACT II set. Thought it was very dull and lacking in any kind of magic or charm or even a sense of the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Did not care for the Mirlitons (ribbon dance), but most of the other variations were quite good. Mother Ginger did not work for me, including the Bear. Center Trepak dancer was exceptional. Also really liked the Cavalier. Totally did not like having Sugar Plum as only a hostess of the scene, and someone else dance the Grand Pas, in totally odd costumes for that work. The dancer who did Sugar Plum was lovely technically, just not quite as charming as I would have liked. But the Grand Pas was disappointing, both choreographically and technically, except for Cavalier variation. And where did she come from anyway? It was like suddenly there is a whole new character here we have never seen before. I too, along with Mr. Johnson, was wondering what happened to the Nutcracker Prince in Act II? Why was Drosselmyer there and not the Prince?


Production wise, I felt it was well done in the first act, with a great deal of attention to detail in many areas often neglected. The only thing that was jarring was the inattention to the rehearsal of the 4 "horses" pulling the sleigh. Could they not possibly get them coordinated? :)


But those are small things. On the whole, a good production.

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Guest GemMetta

Yes, I liked it too, overall. There were a few things (like the Sugar Plum/Clara thing in the second act) which I thought were rather strange... I like departures from typical Nutcrackers, but if it's really outlandish... well, there's probably a reason why the *typical* Nutcracker has worked for so long. :-) I liked Maria Kochetkova's facial expressions but I thought overall, especially first-act Clara, the facials were a bit too rehearsed and not very genuine. :)

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Both my mom and I thoroughly enjoyed this production. We felt that the choreography was weak in some areas as well, but overall a very nice production. We both loved Yuan Yuan Tan and all of the snow...We're wondering what it is made of since the dancers did not struggle while dancing in it. Whatever it is, we want some for our Nutcracker! I was disappointed with waltz and the grand pas de deux, but thoroughly enjoyed an actually thrilling russian and a cute and fun chinese. I also really loved the opening and the huge props in battle scene. I might have to go see it live one year... :)

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