Haglund is very excited about seeing next week's first performance of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein by the Ensemble for the Romantic Century on the Irene Diamond Stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center at 42nd St and 10th Ave. Robert Fairchild is the choreographer and will dance the title role. Get your tickets now, because the production has a short run of thirteen performances preceded by six preview performances.
Speaking of horror, Haglund needed a respite from the swirling controversies created by our local tabloid's galvanizing of its perceived occult powers to create a fictional monster. So he took in Tuesday evening's Nutcracker at New York City Ballet. It was heartening to see the artistic growth continue among many of the company’s dancers.
Lauren Lovette enjoyed a fine debut as Dewdrop. One doesn’t generally think of Lauren as someone with blazing NYCB brand speed but she proved otherwise on Tuesday night. Not only did she have the speed, but she had it without looking hurried. Only some of the circular virtuosity elements danced to a slower tempo held less authority; a quicker tempo might have emboldened her or possibly led to a disaster — who can say which? In any event, it was a joy to see this debut.
Emilie Gerrity and Aaron Sanz, paired as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Her Cavalier, were beautifully matched in line and unfussiness – ever elegant, mindful of exactness without over-articulating the steps, and clearly loving the music. Emilie’s concentration was at times intense as she beautifully discharged the steps with a sense of command. Aaron had the sure, precise partnering hands of someone who had been performing this role for a long time, even though he is relatively new to it. His own variation was handsome and much better than last year’s effort. However, we have to raise an eyebrow at the choice of some of NYCB Cavaliers (including Aaron) to walk out to center stage in preparation for the turns a la second but wait around and “prepare” for four or five counts before starting the turns. It amounts to truncating from the front end. Come on, guys…
Emily Kikta's Coffee was as bold and flavorful as they come. She found the sultry and mysterious aspects of the role as clearly as anyone we’ve seen. Great rapport with the audience which seemed mesmerized by the extraordinary length of her limbs.
Giovanni Villalobos had considerable and uncharacteristic trouble as the Soldier in Act I. Not much went right for him – not the beats with flexed feet, not the 1-1/4 revolution tours, not his pirouette. He has danced this role much better than he did on Tuesday night.
The Tea trio in Act II (Troy Schumacher, Rachel Hutsell, Emma Von Enck) has been politically cleansed of any reference to Chinese to appease those who were “truly offended” by what they were absolutely certain was Balanchine's racist effort to convey inferiority of the Asian race. Rather than substituting some other verifiable authentic Chinese choreographic elements, the dancers simply smoothed out the arms and hands to look like, well, nothing. Gone was the character makeup; so everyone looked like they were in a rehearsal. Is everyone happy now? Perhaps some will want to cleanse the Latino out of the Hot Chocolate section. But why stop there? There are people who could get a lot of attention by attacking the Spanish “stereotypes" in most productions of Don Quixote and demand cleansing. (Pardon us while we take a short break from writing this review to watch the universally adored CSI Special Victims Unit that graphically illustrates every stereotype under the sun along with gory realistic violence to women – oh, and makes the television executives a sh__load of money.) Cleansing in the arts is such a dirty business.
Lauren King has been dancing lead Marzipan for a number of years, and it has been fun watching her develop in the role. She now has stunningly gorgeous legs and feet – all beautifully turned out, and a center plumb line that becomes more impressive every year. On Tuesday she nailed those precarious pirouettes to the knee and played her flute for all it was worth. We’d like to see how her Sugar Plum Fairy is progressing this year, but tickets have become unjustifiably expensive.
Anthony Huxley ran a perfect race as Candy Cane.
The children, leads and party kids, were all as joyful and professional as they are every year.
For a couple of hours, everything was beautiful at the ballet. Thank you.
Our H.H. Pump Bump Award is bestowed upon Aaron Sanz for his enchanting Cavalier. But we don't think that he should try wearing it since it's made out of old newsprint, has no support, and has so many holes that it won't hold water, let alone a foot.