Saturday, December 16, 2017

not the usual

run of the mill production of the Nutcracker- the old war horse of holiday ballets.  Today my friend Barb and I went to see the Sarasota Ballet perform their very own version of The Nutcracker.  It is called John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker. And our usually stellar Sarasota Ballet performers were for the most part overshadowed by uninspired dancing by amateurs.  There were a couple of moments and movements of brilliance but too much like the Christmas pageant at the Middle school for my taste.

Here's what I have to say about it-

the good-

  • It is different from the ordinary and over worked Nutcracker story. Nice to have a new tale. 
  • The choreography is much more 20th century and less classical and I think here that is a positive thing.
  • It is set in the art deco period (20s) and the sets were lovely and creative.
  • The principals were - as usual -first rate, including a corps de ballet doing a Rockettes style chorus line that was really fun and well executed.
  • The role of the Nutcracker/John Ringling North was danced by the terrific Thomas Giugovaz and he was up to the task of dancing on the same stage as Graziano!

the not so good-

  • Too much going on - on the stage- at a lot of points.
  • The "amateurs" really lived "up" to their status.  A lot of movement but not a lot of genuine dance going on there.

ProTip (LOL) - The best way for a mediocre ballet company in small town America to fill their seats would be to "hire' everyone's kids to "star" in the ballet (the place was packed with parents and siblings - some of whom cried upon the first notes - LOL - everyone's a critic LOL)

So I know I will sound like the Grinch when I say 'once was enough.'  I was interested to see how this version was staged.  I liked the story and the choreography but the choreography was sometimes a jarring juxtaposition with the actual music of Tchaikovsky.  dancing the Charleston or a tango to this music seemed a bridge too far.

In any event I now can say I have seen this ballet performed. We can all now go back to ballet performed by professionals which our company has in droves!

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