Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SF Ballet, The Nutcracker

I used to take ballet and tap classes when I was five. I quit when I was six when my teacher moved to New York (I'm nothing if not loyal). It's probably for the best that I didn't stick with it, to avoid the inevitable showdown at 13 between me and my hips.

Since I lost interest in ballet so early in life, I had never had a chance to see a professional ballet company performance before. I rectified that with attendance at the San Francisco Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker. The music, of course, is familiar; Whit characterized it as one of the only "toe-tapping" ballet orchestrations. I find myself concerned with how other ballet orchestrations are characterized.

The performance was fantastic: well thought-out set design; actual magic tricks in the first act (when Drosselmeyer is entertaining the children); lush music; and of course, the dancing.

Photo via SF Ballet, © Erik Tomasson

I think SF Ballet production is unique in that the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" pas de deux is performed not by the Sugar Plum Fairy, but by a grown-up Clara.

The Nutcracker is a huge project to organize; there are almost 170 roles to cast and rehearse, and practice began back in October. Here's the preview:

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