As you can see, when Haglund got home from NYCB’s Opening Night of The Nutcracker, somebody was waiting for a complete report on the mice. And he was not happy to hear that the mice, led viciously and ruthlessly by Justin Peck, nearly made off with the Nutcracker Prince on the very first night. They were only seconds away from kidnapping Marie, too, when all of a sudden, someone from the front of the 1st Tier yelped, “There’s steam coming out of the Bunny’s ears!” Indeed there was. And then miraculously, the Bunny powered toward the Mouse King, grabbed the royal rodent’s tail, and pulled it downstage, completely distracting the critter just long enough for the Nutcracker Prince to wrestle away. But it was close, way too close for comfort. No doubt this will all be reported later tonight on Fox News.
Found this link on the Ballet Bag today for Vogue's December article on ABT's new Nutcracker. The picture of Marcelo Gomes and Gillian Murphy taken in the Alvin Ailey studios is dreamy and reveals thoughtful detail in both dancers' costumes.
The picture is accompanied by text written by Gia Kourlas. It's mostly okay but for a few remarks like "ABT has never really been a contender in the Nutcracker game until now." Uh, for close to two decades, it was Baryshnikov's ABT Nutcracker production that played yearly on PBS with Gelsey Kirkland as a peerless Clara. Can't remember that? Go here. Gelsey's lightness, the exquisite delicacy of her tapered pointes, the articulate shape of her heels, the expressiveness of her upper body, the fantasy in her face - did Gia really miss all of that all those years? The Baryshnikov production should be required viewing for every aspiring Clara/Marie/Sugar Plum whether she has access to other live performances or not.
This picture in Vogue and the cover photo of the first Spring 2011 brochure show Gillian Murphy in understated makeup which allows us to really see her face. It is a wonderful revelation to actually be able to see Gillian through her makeup. The intense lipcolor and over-shadowed, over-lashed eyes that we're accustomed to seeing when she's on stage have always prevented us from really seeing her or the delicacy and fragileness of her characters. It's one of those less is more situations. Now, if we could just get her to put on a pair of flat, tapered, 3/4 shank Freeds...
This must be Vogue's ballet issue. Thumbing through the pages while standing in the Duane Reade after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Haglund saw a J.Crew ad that featured NYCB's lovely Janie Taylor in her glistening lime Sugar Plum costume. Turn the page, a ballet dancer in a Bulova ad. 'Tis the season.
Tomorrow NYCB opens its Nutcracker run (of course, Haglund will be there with bells on) and the Wall Street Journal, fast becoming THE place to go for newspaper dance critcism, has a charming article by Pia Catton about Jacques d'Amboise's family's total immersion in the holiday tradition:
Former NYCB principal Jacques d'Amboise and his wife, Carolyn George, both danced it. Their children—George, Christopher, Charlotte and Cate—all had roles. And now a third generation is set to take the stage: Mr. d'Amboise's granddaughters, Shelby, age 7, and Josephine, age 8, will make their "Nutcracker" debuts this season as a party guest and a toy solider, respectively.
The girls are the daughters of Charlotte d'Amboise, who's currently headlining "Chicago," and her husband Terrance Mann, starring in "The Addams Family."
Cute, right? But before you start imagining this showbiz family in a Norman Rockwell painting, considering the little issue of scheduling.
"It's a disaster—they are all onstage!" Mr. d'Amboise, now 76, said frantically. "I get these calls, 'Can you pick up the girls at rehearsal?'"
Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg will dance the principal roles in the production of Romeo and Juliet.
Up to 2,000 tickets for each performance will be available for £10 on a first-come-first-served basis.
The rest of the tickets will sell for £60 and £95 and will be available from 5 December.
A filmed introduction will be shown on giant screens in the venue at the beginning of each act.
Director of the ballet company, Dame Monica Mason, said she was "thrilled" about the production being shown in such a huge venue as it would "introduce our work to so many new people".
Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House added: "This opportunity fits perfectly with our commitment to ensuring that as wide an audience as possible is able to enjoy live performances by The Royal Ballet at affordable prices."
The June 17-19 performances are being staged in association with impresario Raymond Gubbay, who staged the first opera at the London arena earlier this year.
We'll be following the Ballet Bag in London as they report on this story throughout the year. Tickets go on sale December 5th.
Haglund continues to try to "process" the picture of David Hallberg in a sylph costume sitting on a bicycle in the ABT brochure. Even rebooting with a bottle of pinot noir last night did not unfreeze the processor in his old noggin.
CLAUDE BESSY, LIGNES D’UNE VIE (Traces of a Life)
Fabrice Herrault, 2010; USA, 54m
Described as the “Golden Silhouette” by Serge Lifar, French ballerina Claude Bessy was an admired etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet and ran its prestigious school for decades. Americans know her as Gene Kelly’s partner in his “Invitation to the Dance.” Herrault’s intimate documentary, narrated by his subject, features rare vintage classroom and performance footage of the dancer in her prime, including works by Kelly, Serge Lifar, and Maurice Bejart. Intro/Q and A’s with director and star.
LES REFLETS DE LA DANSE (Reflections of the dance)
Nicolas Ribowski, 1979; France, 33m excerpt
Paris Opera Ballet School classes featuring former students of Claude Bessy, including Sylvie Guillem and Elisabeth Maurin. Intro by Claude Bessy
Public Reception - 8pm-11pm
Miss this, People, and you may as well turn in your Balletomane Badges and resign.
Just a reminder about the December 19th showing of the Bolshoi's The Nutcracker, courtesy of Emerging Pictures Ballet in Cinema program. Then on January 19th, be still your hearts, a LIVE screening of The Royal Ballet's Giselle. EP's website is a slow work-in-progress. So if you have difficulty finding the information you are looking for, just call them up. Yep, if the website isn't functioning with the expected ease, call them up at 212-245-6767 and ask for Christiana, Devonna, or Barry.
Last but not least, Ovation TV is once again presenting its Battle of the Nutcrackers. Here's your chance to see a variety of productions. The Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Berlin State Opera Ballet, Bejart Ballet Lausanne, and Casse Noisette Circus versions will be aired on various dates. Viewers then vote on their favorites and the winner will be announced on Christmas Eve. RB's film features Alina Cojocaru and the Bolshoi Ballet's version features – breathe deeply, breathe, breathe, breathe – Irek Mukhamedov. Please Santa, bring us our very own Mayerling soon.
NYCB: There will be a rare opportunity to see Jennie Somogyi as Sugarplum on Thurs. Dec. 2nd @ 6pm.
ABT: Some of the Washington DC casting has been posted. Lucky DCers – Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo will dance Theme and Variations on Thur. Jan. 20th. Since it's been a while since we've seen ABT's graceful and luminous version of T&V in New York, as opposed to its knock 'em dead with your spinning and not much else version, it might be worth a few bucks to Bolt your way down to DC for this event. It's easy to forget just how beautiful and spiritual this ballet can be.
Update Thur. 11/17
There's been a little shuffle in the ABT Nutcracker casting. Yuriko Kajiya (replacing Hee Seo) will now dance with Alexandre Hammoudi and Maria Riccetto will dance with Daniil Simkin. Not sure how the first pair will look, but Haglund knows that the second pair will look like a partnership. Maria and Daniil square up nicely together - it's something to do with their backs and their personalities. This is definitely one more thing to look forward to next month.
Opening night of The Nutcracker is fewer than two weeks away. Come on, People, get yourselves in the spirit. Look at that awesome cast! Awesome, indeed, but the ballet's highlights for Haglund are always the little Nutcracker Prince's mimed summation of the battle with the mice and, of course, the fearless bunny's variation. Can't wait!
CAVALIER: J. Angle;
HERR DROSSELMEIER: La Fosse;
HOT CHOCOLATE: Muller, la Cour;
CANDY CANE: Suozzi;
MOTHER GINGER: Scordato;
FLOWERS: King, Laracey;
DOLLS: Brown, Manzi;
MOUSE KING: J. Peck;
DR & FRAU STAHLBAUM: Lowery, Seth.
[Very late at night. Somewhere on Lafayette Avenue. In Brooklyn.]
Well, sort of. You have to use your imagination a little bit. But at least now we are assured that the ballerina's shoes which were stolen during a mugging last summer are back in an ABT staffer's security and will be returned to the victim ballerina – unless, of course, they are stolen again – perhaps by the blue shark.
[sorry about the unavoidable commercial]
Go here for another explanation.
There has been so much talk and so much written this past week about "closing circles" in connection with ABT traveling to Cuba at the invitation of Alicia Alonso who holds such importance to the company's history and the art form's integrity. There's another circle that needs to be closed. We need this one to come home:
Isn't she pretty?!
This lovely Dancer is part of the fantastic Salvador Dali bronze sculpture exhibit just installed at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. More than a dozen of his huge bronze sculptures plus many of Dali's paintings and drawings are on the main and second floors of the shopping complex. Talk about bringing great art to the people and making it accessible!
Dali: The Vision of a Genius is something NOT TO MISS:
ABT in Havana was one of the lead-ins for Diane Sawyer tonight on ABC News. If you miss it, check back here for the recap later.
What a tribute! What a great job by the dancers!
For the final story of the broadcast, Diane Sawyer called it "a night to remember" and "a performance 50 years in the making" and of Alicia Alonso, "a small woman who danced across history."
The piece included clips of Michele Wiles and Cory Stearns in the moving PdD from Theme and Variations (both looked fantastic!), the exquisitely beautiful dancing of Stella Abrera, Xiomara Reyes, and Julie Kent in Ratmansky's Seven Sonatas, and the incomparable Jose Manuel Carreno in Fancy Free who then held on to Alicia Alonso with Kevin McKenzie at the foot of the stage.
As soon as the full clip goes up on the ABC News site (more elaborate than the one earlier posted), Haglund will try to post it here. [And here it is - from tonight's broadcast.]
Really, when was the last time a ballet performance was a feature story on the national television news?!