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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: Battle of the Nutcrackers on OVATION

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Royal Ballet was my favorite. My DD and I did not like the Bolshoi. She felt that the choreography ( we didn't see the whole thing so this was judged on the snow) was simple and that they missed all the best parts of the music and didn't use the musical highlights to their fullest!


And a young dance critic is born.

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We enjoyed watching the Royal and Bolshoi back to back and comparing different parts, offering our own "expert" opinions about which was "better" than the other, etc. We also enjoyed observing the different interpretations of choreography for the divertissements - e.g., what each one saw as "Arabian" or "Russian," etc. Fun!!

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My daughter and I watched a few of them on Ovation as well. The Circus one was definitely interesting--it took us a while to figure out who the "chicken man" was! We enjoyed the acrobatics and trapeze, but the classics of the Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet were our favorites.

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The circus one was an excellent example of a question choreographers need to ask themselves before putting anything on stage; "WHY". Why am I doing this? Why did I feel so compelled to do this piece? Should I be in therapy, perhaps, rather than foist my psychic issues on the public? :blushing::green:


I think he has every right to work out his issues in any way he sees fit- but my objection is that he should NOT be using Tchaikovsky's score and the title, "The Nutcracker" in that way without some sort of forewarning. Look, I get that companies get bored and find some of the "sweet nothings" in the ballet mind-numbing. I get it. So have a little party and do what you want. Invite members of your closest attendees and friends and family, and have at it. Or, if you really think your "story" must be seen, then please choose music that fits. Please.....


Regardless of the origins of the Hoffman story, The Nutcracker has become a Christmas story for children, about children. It's kinda like Santa: If you want to do an X-rated Santa, there is a certain video venue for it. Don't put it on my stage.... :blink:

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I totally hear you Clara 76!!! When we saw "the Chicken Man" come out on stage, I honestly did a double take and was wondering if I was seeing things. From the giggles and snickers from my kids, I knew that something was amiss. Then as the act went on I literally had to turn to the "Guide" to see what this show was rated. I kind of wish there was some type of "warning" in the description because the content totally caught me off guard.

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Exactly!!!!! :blushing:

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An artist doesn’t need to rationalize his or her approach. An artist does what he or she does because he or she feels like it. If you like it fine; if you hate it, that’s fine too. In fact passionate dislike is a really good way to reach a mass audience.


Personally, I think all the arts need to challenge. Of course not everything new is going to be liked or remembered. But I’ll argue that art always needs to challenge the conventional to remain alive. Those challenges need to be seen. Compared with previous year’s Nutcrackers, Ovation gave us much more variety, which I thought was good.

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Variety is great - I certainly don't mind that. I think the objection being made is no parental warning. The Nutcracker was always a childrens' story, but this particular rendition IMO is definitely NOT for children! There was no mention of that in the info guide. We would just like to be prepared while our youngsters sit and watch something unfold that is quite foreign and sometimes just this side of difficult to explain....

Clara, I'm with you! And the music was NOT necessary for what was presented! That rooster is still even giving me pictures in my mind I'd rather not have...... :yucky: It certainly will be a topic of conversation for a while, but not in a good way!

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Sorry but self-indulgent narcissistic crap doesn't qualify as art in my book. Personal opinion and we're all entitled to it. I'm all for pushing an art form- but pushing down the toilet- not so much.

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Victoria Leigh

While I did not see this performance, I have seen way more than enough self-indulgent, narcissistic crap presented in the name of dance in my life. So, I must totally agree with Clara on principle, as I really find that, while change and challenge are fine, taking something good and making it trash is something else. We don't need that, and it is especially egregious when set to a beautiful classical score by one of the masters. Changing a setting, or a time period can work, but changing the whole story, intent, and purpose of the work, and calling it by the same name, does not work. At least not for me.

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Many a famous painter has called a contemporary painter’s work as trash, a work that is later regarded as a masterpiece. Art is subjective. As to parental warning, sticking with the visual art analogy, you don’t find parental warnings on art museum doors.


For me a question is if the Nutcracker is ONLY a dance for children.


The Ovation review didn’t give a strong opinion about the Circus production (it’s below)




I did enjoy reading the two reviews I found on Amazon. Both are strong. One positive. One negative.




Arguing about art makes for great sport.

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I've got them all recorded. DD10 wanted to watch the Bolshoi first. The Nutcracker she performs in is based on the Bolshoi one so she enjoyed seeing the similarities & differences in that version & 'her' version. She also was surprised that they didn't use kids (hers has tons of kids) & that some of the party boys are performed by girls.


I don't know which one she'll want to watch next but it sounds like I should prescreen a few. The circus one & the Bejart one. Any others?

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I was also surprised that the Bolshoi used girls for some of the party boys. I really would have thought they could cough up enough boys for those roles! I kept pausing the DVR and looking really closely to see if it was my 43 year old eyes or if they really did have girls for some of the party boys!

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