NYC Ballet in “The Nutcracker”

December 6, 2007

The NutcrackerI love watching the New York City Ballet from the fifth ring seats, where you’re actually at the same level as the elaborate ball-shaped chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

It doesn’t sound like an appealing view, but from this lofty vantage point, I can see everything. I can see who really points their feet when in those spectacular arabesques and how those lines and patterns are actually straight when seen from above. I can see the vibrant colors in thier costumes. And most importantly, I’m the one who acknowledges the dance aficionados in the cheap seats with even a glance all the way up at the fifth ring.

It’s somehow amusing to me to watch the Snow Scene, in which realistic looking flurries gently drift onto the stage making the scene look magical. And I continue to marvel at the sure-footedness of the corps de ballet who fit across the stage with speed and confidence, leaving strange little footprints behind as if they were in real snow.

Sugarplum FairyIn the first act of Balanchine’s “Nutcracker”, the well rehearsed children from the School of American Ballet are amazing and always the real stars and they deserve special mention for their passion. Teresa Reichien makes a gracious Sugarplum. Her solo dance, which Balanchine places at the beginning of the second act, leaves a definite impression of a sparkly fairy, with such so intricate footwork, as if she were marking out a delicate, sacred ground for the festivities to take place upon. She presented a fairy with such warmth, and showed she is the queen. I am happy to report that her welcoming smile in the promenade around the stage encompassed the whole theater including the cheap seats. Fairy magic, though, was not just to be found at the feet of the Sugarplum Fairy. As Dewdrop, Megan Fairchild has not only crystalline and piquant technique but also a radiance that made the viewer sigh with satisfaction. Even from above and possibly the most unforgiving angle a dancer could ever been seen at, she looked perfect. And not just perfect, she looked lovely. Also notable were the impressively resilient jumps of Adam Hendrickson in the Tea divertissement, and the ever-courtly partnering of Stephen Hanna as Teresa’s cavalier. They look wonderful together and have the same feeling for the music and the gracious manners that make the pas de deux seem quite regal.

New York City’s The Nutcracker is as much of NY holiday tradition as pumpkin pie and a glittery tree with ornaments. Why don’t you round up your kids, your neighbors and your neighbor’s kids and take them all with you to see The Nutcracker.

By Sae Na Park (Korea)

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