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December 18, 2010

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I find it very odd that all the credit to this production has been given to Gelsey Kirkland. The staff of the Joffrey Ballet School were the ones who really pulled of the Nutcracker. I was behind the scenes every rehearsal at the theatre and for every performance. Gelsey and her husband treated the little soldiers and angels terribly the whole time and had them show up for rehearsals and wait 12 hours only to tell them to go home. These children were asked to miss two days of school only to do nothing. I warn all parents. Don't let this team near your children. The are horrible people. I am a parent of one of these children and volunteered backstage all days. The Joffrey Ballet School is a wonderful school and I don't know why they associated themselves with the likes of these two. They have total disregard for children. I don't think they even like them.

Soldier Mom, thank you so much for your comment and especially for reminding us of the superb efforts and achievements of the Joffrey Ballet School. Indeed, it was that school's artistic and administrative infrastructure that enabled this new Nutcracker to be developed. We at Haglund's Heel are sorry if it appears we de-emphasized the contribution of the Joffrey school - it was not our intent.

Any Nutcracker production is a source of very high stress for everyone involved - especially parents. It's always a good idea to make sure that the organizers have a "parents' advocate" so that if the stress level starts to get out of hand, there is a relief valve.

Also, we hope that you will convey your concerns and disappointment directly to the Joffrey administration.

-- Haglund

Oh we did and Misha would not let the children go home and they were threatened that if they left they might be kicked out of the performance. The Joffrey administration is aware. The Joffrey Ballet School has done the Nutcracker for several years past under the direction of John Mangus, George de La Pena and Davis Robertson and they were lovely to deal with. They were totally professional and treated the children with the same respect they did the principle dancers. Robertson has children the same age as the soldiers and angels. He in particular dealt with them in a nurturing and loving way. Misha and Gelsey didn't show their face once in the children's dressing rooms during any of the performances to say hello or congratulate them on a job well done. It appeared like they resented having to work with them. Misha in particular was rather abrasive and should not be allowed to work with children again. He really is just a guy riding on Gelsey Kirkland's coat tails.

Thank you for clarifying that.

I agree with the "Soldier MOM". I personally witnessed Gelsey and Misha yelling at people on their staff that had given their very best to the production with no appreciation for their efforts and hard work. They took the children into a very cold unfinished basement with, (nails and dust on the cold cement floors) for 2.5 hours to rehearse on props that weren't even finished. Also, it was clear that they didn't seem to care about the "Joffrey Cast" that performed the last show. I agree with the "Soldier Mom" that the pair should never be intrusted around children again. It seems that the Joffrey school at least is concerned about their clients and had no idea that these two would damage the Joffrey name. Unfortunately, due to the treatment of the children, I would assume that Joffrey may loose numerous students due to this production.

Thanks for posting, though it is disappointing to hear.

Honesty Please !!These angry posts are referencing a backstage event; not an onstage performance. Family disagreements should always be kept in the Family;not shared with the neighborhood.
Not one of these overly protective parents removed their child from the Cast. If I were this appauled by a Directors behavior there would never have been a second performance involving my child.These two parents let their children they stay for the full run.

Excellent point concerning unwillingness to remove the child from the objectionable situation.

The parents and students were committed at that point and the ENTIRE organization and treatment of the parents was CHAOTIC, DISORGANIZED & UNACCEPTABLE!

Being committed to something Chaotic, Disorganized,Unacceptable ? Sounds like irresponsible parenting to meto me.

Hey Jo - One of the children even got injured in that basement that Gelsey and Misha took them too. I must point out that parents were chased out of the premises once they dropped their kids off and it wasn't until later when they came to pick them up that they found out what was going on. I suspect that the person writing in defense of Gelsey and her boyfriend is somehow connected to them. Why else would someone justify their behavior?

These comments are unwarranted and quite frankly, embarrassing. My daughter was in this production as one of the Joffrey students and had a VERY positive experience with both Gelsey and Misha. Yes, the rehearsals were grueling, long and sometimes not so well planned. But isn't that the way with all productions? The shows were beautiful and both my family and daughter were very pleased with the outcome. I was somewhat disappointed to see more Kirkland students featured than Joffrey students but that is an agreement that both studios privately agreed to and not one for me to question.

Haglund thinks that some of the comment contributors would be better served by having face-to-face conversations with each other.

By the way, the kids looked fantastic on stage during the opening night, and their parents should be proud of what they accomplished as performers.

Thank you, Haglund. And thanks for reviewing the production!

My pleasure.

The comments are definitely warrented. And yes, both studios privately agreed to feature Kirkland students over Joffrey students. "Privately" being the operative word. Parents and students of Joffrey were dissapointed and shocked when this came to light. It was very sneaky. It also wasn't very nice that they cast a teacher (who is realted to Misha and Kelsey) as the lead part. This was supposed to be a student production. and yes rehearsals can be grueling. But most of the time the joffrey kids were sitting around waiting to rehearse and doing nothing. Most of the Joffrey kids are veteran Nutcracker performers and are used to lots of rehearsals where they actually get to rehearse. The grueling part was all the waiting to do nothing while all the Kirkland kids rehearsed. The shows were beautiful but the end does not justify the means.

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