New York City Ballet


New York, New York - New York City Ballet

Classic Nutcracker - NYCB and Balachine

November 29, 2002 - By Brad Maxwell

In a world full of talented artists only a few are renowned.  Painters such as Monet, Matisse and Van Gogh, conductors like Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky, and in the world of ballet and dance, Balanchine's choreography will be cherished forever.  The New York City Ballet presents Balanchine's vividly colorful and graceful expression of the seasonal classic "The Nutcracker" at the New York State Theater.

The Balanchine Nutcracker is refreshingly traditional, with no surprises. The 1st Act opens to the Party Scene and Drosselmeier's wonderful dancing dolls entertaining the Stahlbaum's and their guests. The party ends with Marie, the Stahlbaum's daughter, falling asleep on the sofa and drifting off into a magical dream. Marie dreams the Nutcracker Prince conquers a Mouse King and then takes her on a journey into the woods where the Snowflakes dance. The 2nd Act finds them in the Land of Sweets at the Marzipan Castle where they are seated on a throne and treated to the Dances of Sweets.

The Party Scene is superb, translating the story with each musical inflection, drawing the audience intimately into the story. It's captivating and lively, as if you are listening to a talented storyteller, keeping you in suspense of each new phrase. You really get to know the mischievous Fritz who taunts Marie and her friends, expecting nothing less than to receive every gift presented by their magical Uncle Drosselmeier - played by the talented Robert La Fosse.  Drosselmeier takes center stage with his exquisitely costumed dancing dolls and a very lively soldier - an exciting solo. The dancers communicate the story so well, Fritz's influence on Marie and the magic of their Uncle Drosselmeier, building our relationship with Marie and her special dream.

The Snow Scene is just about as good as it gets.  It's spectacular and moving. The stage is framed with grand white billowy trees and a winter snow flurry building up to a swirling snowstorm. In fact, the snowstorm becomes so thick the dancing snowflakes seemingly blend into the storm. The dancers fill the stage with such beauty your senses are drawn into the snowstorm too. This is Balachine at his best allowing you to become one with the dancers and music.

The 2nd Act is filled with the variations of Hot Chocolate from Spain, Arabian Coffee, Tea from China, the Peppermint Candy Canes and the Marzipan Shepherdesses. The Arabian Coffee is an outstanding solo by Dana Hanson and the three Teas from China are fun and lively. The Candy Canes are an exciting favorite, dancing and jumping with peppermint colored hoops. The Hot Chocolate dancers splash the stage with their colors while the beautiful Marzipan danced sweetly in their delicate flowery tutus.

The Waltz of Flowers is led by the Dew Drop, Jennie Somogyi. She is a captivating dancer with a style that makes her stand out. She is so beautiful to watch you are forced to follow her every move --Simply breathtaking. The Sugarplum Fairy and Her Cavalier, Darci Kistler and Jock Soto, provide a grand finale dancing the Pas de Deux and the solo selections. They are a show by themselves.

The New York City Ballet Nutcracker is a traditional classic. Balachine's choreography is so spectacular it seems the music was written just for him.


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