New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a
list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews
Review 2, 12-3: Reasons to Believe
Regal Kistler, Sturdy Soto, Precise Somogyi Lead "Nutcracker" Return
at City Ballet
By Susan Yung
Copyright 2002 Susan Yung
NEW YORK -- New York
City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker,"
to Tchaikovsky's fabled score, is as much a part of New York's holiday
season as the Radio City Christmas show and the Rockefeller Center
tree. A City Ballet institution since 1954, this production kicked
off the company's 2002-03 season in earnest Friday. It is a good
opportunity for the entire company to gain performance experience
before a loyal, eager audience of all ages, and it is a reminder
of a more genteel era in New York's cultural history.
The cast featured Darci
Kistler (Sugarplum Fairy), Jock Soto (Her Cavalier), and Jennie
Somogyi (Dewdrop). For thousands of balletomanes, Kistler is the
consummate Sugarplum Fairy, immortalized in the 1993 video version
of "The Nutcracker." She still sparkles with a regal presence, but
she has some bad technical habits -- like double-clutching her supporting
leg's foot in turn preparation, and not completing a simple double
pirouette -- probably carried forward from an injury, and at this
point, not likely to be corrected. Kistler completed all of the
required petit allegro steps in time, but they were sketched out,
not fully defined.
Kistler's and Soto's
seniority within the ranks lends a stately air to their duet, almost
like that of the queen and king waving to the crowds as they pass
the reviewing stand. Soto, while not exactly ageless, continues
to dignify himself with a solidity that lends itself to nailed pirouette
landings, but not to grand jetes or maneuvers demanding ballon.
His partnering skills remain keen and unflaggingly supportive, especially
in lift/catches where Kistler lands perched on his shoulder as if
hopping onto a block of granite.
Jennie Somogyi offered
a good generational contrast in style. The role of Dewdrop is the
meatiest role in "The Nutcracker," an excellent showcase for Somogyi's
clean, muscular movement. She articulated her foot through passe
so clearly, it was like the taps of a sword on each shoulder in
a knighting ceremony. Her muscular legs carved interesting, tight
spirals in fouettes and turns, rather than simply spinning like
dowels. Her approach isn't particularly boastful, but she quietly
commanded attention in a deceptively difficult repeated slow inside
Flora Wildes (Marie/Little
Princess) and Tyler Gurfein (Nephew/Nutcracker/Little Prince) performed
with the appropriate balance of wide-eyed wonder and premature yearning
for adult roles. Guest artist Robert La Fosse portrayed Drosselmeier
with verve, adding a dash of black magic to his otherwise charming
interactions with the children. Benjamin Millepied, substituting
for Tom Gold, led the candy canes with his effortless double-hoop
sautes (although he may have been relaxed to a fault, accidentally
running into one of the seated candy cane's hoops.) Ashley Bouder
danced crisply in the tiny role of the Harlequin, and again in the
Tea group, this time pairing with the sprightly Adam Hendrickson
and Megan Fairchild. Dana Hanson looked suitably exotic in the role
of Coffee, though her finger cymballing could use some caffeine.
Rachel Rutherford (Hot Chocolate) performed with high energy, but
she seemed to grapple with her footing.
As Mother Ginger, Amar
Ramasar took on a more contemporary approach than the other dancers
in their roles, giving it a little "girlfriend" head-wagging silliness.
The young girls who emerged from under 'her' skirt performed with
zest and unexpected confidence. In fact, all of the youngsters were
beautifully prepared for the performance. (The only hitch seemed
to be the poor little angels tripping on their tubular dress hems
when they moved too fast.) Jennifer Tinsley brightly led the marzipan
shepherdesses in their cake tier tutus. And the Snowflakes are to
be commended for their brave, bold grand allegro on the slippery
"The Nutcracker" is
an immeasurably important dance world holiday tradition, disdained
though it may be as a sentimental relic of days gone by. It is the
closest thing to the commercialism of Broadway that ballet has in
terms of being its own industry. It is also, for many children in
the audience, an introduction to ballet -- doubtless for some, to
big-time performing arts. And there is an undeniable thrill at seeing
the Christmas tree grow to a huge size, as human-sized rats battle
with an army of toys. Let the holiday season begin.
Scenery for the production
is by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, costumes by Karinska, original lighting
by Ronald Bates, and lighting by Mark Stanley. The New York City
Ballet Orchestra was conducted by Hugo Fiorato, with the violin
solo by Jean Ingraham.
"The Nutcracker" continues
through January 5, with Kistler, Soto, and Somogyi scheduled to
repeat Thursday night. For a complete schedule, please click
here. For this week's casting, please click
Go back to Flash Reviews