So far, we are truly enjoying our Nutcracker experience again this year. I had the privilege of chaperoning in the dressing room for Wednesday evenings performance and I was allowed to take the gorgeous photos displayed here today.
Tuesday, Oleander and I had tickets to the dress rehearsal, and if you don't mind bearing with me, I'd like to turn ballet critic for the remainder of this post. I seen several different versions and danced in the Nutcracker and in my humble opinion, this version, choreographed by George Balanchine, is the absolute best. Most versions of the ballet use the Variations to showcase their incredibly talented principal dancers. Audiences are wowed by the unique strengths of these individual dancers, usually featuring spectacular leaps, dazzling turns, or amazing flexibility. This version of the ballet also features the Variations, and the dancers are very talented and put on a wonderful show, but the Variations are truly secondary in comparison to the beautiful choreography of the Corps de Ballet, and even secondary to the parts choreographed for the 70 plus children in the production.
I think most folks familiar to the Nutcracker Ballet would agree The Waltz of the Flowers is most likely their least favorite variation, not so with Balanchine's choreography. Pennsylvania Ballet's Corps pulled off the intricate unison needed for The Waltz to be successful. It was incredibly beautiful and the choreography truly made the Corps appear to bloom like flowers.
By far, the most enjoyable aspect of this particular production are the child dancers. They figure front and center in the party scene, as expected, but then children feature prominently again as toy soldiers, menacing mice, breathtaking angels, foils for the Chinese Tea principal, talented Candy Cane Hoops, and adorable Polychinelles. I am so thrilled to have one of my dancers involved in this show. I'm really looking forward to seeing another performance on Saturday night.