Los Angeles, California - Kirov Ballet
The Kirov Ballet Snows Perfection
December 17, 2008 - By Brad Maxwell
Los Angeles in December isn't exactly about snow, but if you stop by the Music Center you will find a snowy
perfection in the Nutcracker performed by the Kirov Ballet. Clearly one of the best companies anywhere in the world, the Kirov Ballet's
Nutcracker is a spectacular blend of dance and music that fills your soul with Christmas beauty.
In 1892, the Kirov Ballet performed the first Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. And now it's 116
years later and the Kirov Ballet has brought it's beloved production to Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Along with it's large touring company, the Kirov is
also joined by the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre. This is a rare opportunity to
experience the Tchaikovsky holiday with the founding team of the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra. Six performances only, December 17 through December 20, 2008.
The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre accompanies the Kirov Ballet and provides a
performance where dancers and orchestra are perfectly timed and synchronized for the greatest theatrical impact. The Kirov's Nutcracker is performed in three Acts
and with two intermissions. In Act II, although the Snow Scene doesn't have an actual snow fall, there are more dancers on stage than I have ever seen. A total of
24 Snowflake dancers fill the stage. The part of Masha, in most productions named Clara, is a part performed by a principle dancer instead of a young member of the
ballet. In fact, the principle dancer performing Masha also dances in the grand pas
de deux at the end of Act III. In addition, Act III also excludes a Mother Ginger and the usual grand pas de deux is expanded to include four additional male dancers who
assist with a spectacular series of lifts.
Act I is based in a German town in the early 1800's in the Stahlbaum's magnificently decorated house. The
costumes are extravagant and with early origins. The men wear breeches, buckle shoes and white wigs. The women wear large exquisite gowns
with hair decorations on tall wigs. Drosselmeyer is dressed in a black coat and breeches and surprises the guests when he wears a green cape
with stars and sorcerer's hat as he performs magic. He entertains the guests, first with puppet show about a mouse battle, then with a harlequin doll, a ballerina doll
and a Arabian dancer.
Act II starts as Masha (Evgenia Obraztsova) goes to bed and begins to dream. The
stage goes dark and she finds herself back in the main room surrounded by little gray mice. The Mouse King emerges from the center of the tree and an army of
soldiers, lead by the Nutcracker (Vladimir Shklyarov), appear and defeat the mouse king and mice. Drosselmeyer appears from the tree and turns Masha and the Nutcracker
into a beautiful Princess and Prince who dance together in a stunning forest of evergreens dusted in snow. The two disappear as the staged is
filled by 24 Snowflake dancers. The Waltz of Snowflakes is masterfully choreographed creating a dazzling flurry of lovely light blue Snowflakes.
Act II brings the Princess and Prince to an enchanted island surrounded by pastel
trees with sparkling candles. They first chase off some bats and are then greeted by a celebration of dances. Three Spanish dancers dressed in black and pink
followed by five Eastern dancers wearing veils, with their hair in braids. There are three Chinese dancers dressed in black and white, three Trepak dancers who
perform the Russian dance and a Pas De Trios who dance to what many know as Mirliton. The Waltz of Flowers incorporates 16 couples dancing and lifting. The
women are in pink flowing dresses and the men are in pink breeches and white wigs. The grand pas de deux, danced by the Princess and Prince, is delicate and
exquisite. The dancers are lovely and graceful and their movements are bold and dramatic. Simply amazing!
The Kirov Ballet's Nutcracker is really amazingly beautiful. Those with tickets should feel extremely lucky.