Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Nutcracker

Wendy and I went to see the Nutcracker yesterday evening. Six o'clock start times are so not my favorite thing in the world, particularly since they mean I can't eat first. I mean, I understand that a lot of children go to see Nutcracker so they don't want it running too late, but honestly, if it's hard for me to get from work to Lincoln Center by six, I can only imagine that it's even harder for the many working parents who want to bring their kids to the ballet. I just don't get it. On the bright side, it does mean we got to watch Project Runway yesterday.

Anyway, the Nutcracker is lovely and all. Our tickets, as they were last year, were way up in the 5th ring, which is an odd almost vertigo inducing perspective (there's a picture below that might give you an idea). You have to lean forward against the railing in order to see the whole stage, and my hands kept falling asleep. Teach me to try and get cheap--aka within my budget--tickets long after they've gone on sale.

I tend to find myself a bit bored during the first bits. I mean, it's a lovely Christmas party with the dancing and the children and the toys, etc. but once you've seen it once, it kind of feels like a prelude to the real magic which is to come. For me, the delight of the ballet comes when the tree starts growing upward--although the 5th ring does ruin that particular magic a bit since you can see the hole from which the tree grows.

For the most part the ballet was delightful, and I actually felt, watching it, like I was seeing it differently than I had in the past. I felt like I actually have been learning something about watching in the past year. So that was nice too. Anyway, I particularly liked Alina Dronova as Marzipan and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop. Dronova was full of vivacity and delight while Fairchild seemed to have the kind of clarity that a dewdrop would have. I also always particularly the candy canes with their hoops. Although I imagine most do. The only performance I was disappointed by, and unfortunately it was a big one, was that of the Sugarplum Fairy.

I'm sure that Teresa Reichlen, who danced the role, is usually a lovely dancer--I've never seen her before--but she wasn't good yesterday. While I was at a weird angle so it's sometimes hard to say, she appeared to be very unsteady at times. On at least one occasion it seemed like her cavalier, Stephen Hanna, had to catch her to prevent her from doing a face plant, and there were wobbly arms all over the place when she had to balance (I think I'm describing this correctly). Setting aside such obvious things though, I felt like her dancing lacked the authority, sureness, and grandeur that the role and music seem to call for. Well, I confident that she's been much better in the past and will be much better in the future. I sure don't do my job brilliantly every day. I mean, my boss walked up yesterday and I was totally watching the Gary Robert-Ben Eager fight on YouTube. So I can't point fingers.

Still, it was a nice night and we left the New York State Theater very satisfied. It was quite a bit colder when we left than it had been earlier that day and we rushed home feeling decidedly chillier than we would have hoped. It probably would have helped if either of us would have remembered to wear our hats that morning. Live and learn? Pay for your mistakes? Some other cliche? Oh well, unsurprisingly we survived.

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