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Ballet and dance reviews from New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.


 Volume 2, Number 1   January 5,  2004            An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Letter from New York

5 January 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by Mindy Aloff

The Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet (30 December 2003): A child wailing through part of the overture and a lost theatergoer temporarily blocking my view of the Act II Angels couldn’t make an impact on my delight at seeing this wonderful spectacle once more. There was a great deal in it that gave immense pleasure, beginning with the moments in the Sugarplum Fairy pas de deux when Cavalier Seth Orza twice lowered Megan Fairchild from lifts as if she were sacred—increasingly slowing down her descent as her points approached the stage floor. It was an enchanting pas de deux, as well as an unexpected one. Fairchild, a newish member of the corps de ballet who looks barely just too old to play Marie, was a last-minute substitute for an indisposed Janie Taylor; however, in her solo as well as in the pas de deux, she gave an authoritative performance: delicate, exact, pristine in the changes of épaulement, securely centered in pirouettes, altogether a delight. The Waltz of the Flowers, presided over by the regal Sofiane Sylve, was also a joy. The dancing of the School of American Ballet Polichinelles was exemplary, too—big performances in miniature. The tempi of Maurice Kaplow’s conducting seemed a little uneven; yet when he and the Christmas tree got together for the transformation, it was a love match all the way.
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past Letters from New York


Ah! The Kirov Is Here

Swan Lake (Konstantin Sergeyev production)
The Kirov Ballet
Opera House
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
December 30, 2003

by Alexandra Tomalonis
copyright © 2003 by Alexandra Tomalonis

There’s still a freshness about Konstantin Sergeyev’s production of Swan Lake even though it’s more than 50 years old. The first act is especially lovely, the dances flowing gently from one side of the stage to the other like leaves blown by a spring breeze. Seeing this Swan Lake directly after the company’s new design-heavy Nutcracker brings home how revolutionary it must have been back in 1950 when it swept dramballet aside and turned the focus on the dancing. It’s as much part of the post-World War II swing to neoclassicism as Balanchine’s Palais du crystal and Ashton’s Symphonic Variations. The production is of its time, and perhaps ahead of its time. The Neoclassicism of the 1950s gave way to the psychodrama of the late 1960s, and now designo-drama is rearing its head. But last night in Washington, neoclassicism was queen, and the company, led by Daria Pavlenko and Igor Zelensky, looked gorgeous.
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Review of the Kirov Ballet's Nutcracker by George Jackson

The Season's Last Nutcracker

The Nutcracker
The Washington Ballet
Warner Theater
Washington, DC
Sunday, December 28, 2003

by George Jackson
copyright © 2004 by George Jackson

On the last day of its run this year, Mary Day's The Nutcracker attracted family. Not only did persons from the dance world attended but, by and large, the general audience, too, knew what to expect. Even the children regarded it as something of a holiday habit. It seemed they had been to Miss Day's show before or had heard of it as cherished lore. By the time they left the theater, the not-so-young and the not-that-old alike had feasted their eyes and ears a little. The juniors may also have learned to pay attention and had the chance to practice their manners by not talking during the dancing and not applauding out of turn.

The production is a traditional Nutcracker with original touches. It is modest in an American way and has roots in a Washington that was still innocent of Kennedy Center. In the memories of old timers the images of certain dancers in certain roles flicker persistently, no matter how vital the current cast.
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This weeks' articles


Mindy  Aloff's Letter from New York

The Balanchine Celebration
New York City Ballet:
A Veteran and a Raw Recruit
by Mindy Aloff

Heart and Soul
by Mary Cargill

Kid Stuff
Cas Public's If You Go Down To the Woods Today
by Susan Reiter

San Francisco Ballet:
New Wheeldon (Rush)
by Rita Felciano

New Tomasson (7 For Eight)
by Paul Parish

Possokhov's New Firebird for OBT
by Rita Felciano

Moscow Festival Ballet and Scott Wells
by Paul Parish

Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky:
Nijinsky—Lost in the Chaos
by Clare Croft

NijinskyMadness and Metaphor
by Alexandra Tomalonis

Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes
by George Jackson

Batsheva: Breaking Down Walls
by Lisa Traiger

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
by Clare Croft

Choreographers Showcase
by Tehreema Mitha

Zoltan Nagy
by George Jackson






Mindy Aloff
Dale Brauner
Mary Cargill
Clare Croft
Nancy Dalva
Rita Felciano
Lynn Garafola
Alison Garcia
Marc Haegeman
George Jackson
Gia Kourlas
Sali Ann Kriegsman
Jean Battey Lewis
Alexander Meinertz
Tehreema Mitha
Gay Morris
Ann Murphy
Paul Parish
Susan Reiter
Jane Simpson
Alexandra Tomalonis(Editor)
Lisa Traiger
Meital Waibsnaider

Leigh Witchel


The Autumn DanceView is out:

New York City Ballet's Spring 2003 season reviewed by Gia Kourlas

An interview with the Kirov Ballet's Daria Pavlenko by Marc Haegeman

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet (by Rita Felciano) and Paris Opera Ballet (by Carol Pardo)

The ballet tradition at the Metropolitan Opera (by Elaine Machleder)

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and the Bay Area (Rita Felciano).

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last updated on January 5, 2004 -->