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Winter Solstice No. 3: “The Nutcracker” According to Morris

Mark Morris Dance Group: The Hard Nut / BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn, NY / December 10-19, 2010 For all the rigorously classical attributes of his work, Mark Morris, celebrated for his choreographic chops, has a distinct renegade streak. The Hard Nut, his version of The Nutcracker ballet, gives his iconoclastic outlook every opportunity to flourish. Morris's take on the glorious Tchaikovsky score was created in 1991, when the Mark Morris Dance Group was in luxurious exile in Brussels, as the resident dance company of the Théâtre … [Read more...]

Winter Solstice No. 2: “The Nutcracker” According to Balanchine

Even after my daughter, a School of American Ballet student, outgrew (literally--the costumes have to fit) a string of kiddie roles in Balanchine's Nutcracker--Angel, Soldier, Polichinelle, Candy Cane--I still made many a trip to Lincoln Center for New York City Ballet's annual offering of the holiday production. As a dance critic, I've found the ballet infinitely engaging and worth considering from myriad angles. This season I've gone twice, both times to focus on the company dancer who fascinates me most these days: Sara Mearns, who is … [Read more...]

They Lost It at the Movies

Black Swan / Opened December 3, 2010 Surely The Red Shoes, created by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is the most beloved ballet film of all time. My innocent eyes and heart were ravished by it shortly after its premiere in 1948. Shot in fabulous color--it glowed like a handful of precious jewels--the movie was built on a melodramatic exaggeration of a myth still popular at the time. The idea (which had a modicum of truth in it), was that being a ballerina was a full-time job and a half, leaving no room whatsoever for love or its … [Read more...]

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