Critic’s Notebook: ‘Nutcracker’ Dancers in This Season’s Performances

January 1st, 2014

All long runs of “The Nutcracker” provide several castings. New York balletomanes revisit the productions at American Ballet Theater and New York Town Ballet to learn new aspects of each knowledgeable and novice dancers. The roles on their own modify: this Sugar Plum Fairy is majesty by itself, that one particular all twinkle this Clara as Princess is fervent, but that a single gleeful. Meanwhile, dancers modify and expand as they tackle numerous roles.

Metropolis Ballet’s existing revival of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” — which opened on Nov. 29 at the David H. Koch Theater and will conclude with its forty seventh overall performance on Saturday night — has been presenting sixteen different girls as the Sugar Plum Fairy, twelve gentlemen as her cavalier, 14 females as the Dewdrop, 9 gentlemen as Sweet Cane, eight females as the foremost dancer of Marzipan, and nine as Espresso, between other roles. Most of these dancers are experienced interpreters of their roles in this basic. The time, nevertheless, has introduced a couple of notable debuts.

Ashley Laracey and Russell Janzen created their debuts as the Sugar Plum couple on Dec. 22 I caught their second performance in the lead roles at Saturday’s matinee. Ms. Laracey, who joined the firm in 2003 and attained soloist rank final February, has remaining a common effect of fashionable grace in a variety of parts, but the Sugar Plum function tends to make all her characteristics recently distinctive. She has delicacy, authority, refinement: sweetness among the kid angels, graciousness to the youngster site visitors, rapture and serenity merged in the fantastic adagio. Like Teresa Reichlen and Laura King, she does unsupported double pirouettes to equally still left and proper throughout the adagio. She carries her head with distinction her figure is ravishing, with slender, tapering limbs.

Mr. Janzen has top, bearing, amplitude, a excellent stage encounter. He amazed as a companion whilst he was nevertheless at the School of American Ballet he joined the City Ballet corps in 2008. His skill in steering Ms. Laracey via the assorted calls for of the adagio suggests that he is a single of nature’s cavaliers, but his transient solo also suggests that he has elegance in bravura. Followers of the organization will now come to feel a certain impatience about both these dancers — when will we see them up coming in any featured, permit on your own top, roles? — but of their fast rightness for the “Nutcracker” direct couple, there need to be no doubt.

Brittany Pollack, who danced her first Dewdrop this season, would seem one of the company’s omnicompetent performers. She joined the business 4 a long time following Ms. Laracey but arrived at the rank of soloist the identical month her colleague did in the recent “Nutcracker” operate, she dances 5 featured roles (Sugar Plum, Dewdrop, the major soloist in Marzipan and Hot Chocolate, and a major Flower). She has attack, eagerness, sparkle. Grace, poetry, individuality are arriving much more little by little, but on Sunday, despite the tentative partnering of Gonzalo Garcia, she danced the momentous Sugar Plum adagio seemingly in 1 phrase, a single thought. And the agency gleam of her Dewdrop execution on Friday advised that this is her very best “Nutcracker” position to date: Individuals legs glow.

Numerous corps dancers created nicely-well prepared debuts: Ashley Isaacs as Dewdrop, Indiana Woodward as Marzipan, Emily Kikta as Espresso, Joseph Gordon as Candy Cane. Some of these dancers are quite young: Mr. Gordon joined the corps in only July 2012, and Ms. Woodward in December of that year.

But the process of beginning to know who they are — for on their own, as well as for us — has presently started. So significantly, I’m most amazed with Mr. Gordon and Ms. Kikta, who are equally tall. Mr. Gordon, who has made an impression in Jerome Robbins’s “Interaction,” has the exuberant buoyancy for Candy Cane’s jumps. Ms. Kikta doesn’t yet demonstrate the sensuousness for Coffee, but her statuesque high quality, organic spaciousness and keen rhythm manufactured it recently arresting. Her experience is awesome, her eyes vibrant.

Viewing Ballet Theater’s “Nutcracker” at the Brooklyn Academy of Songs, which ended on Dec. 22, I was gratified to see how experience can transform a dancer. When Joseph Gorak joined the organization 4 several years ago, you couldn’t miss his phenomenally arched toes or his boyish sweetness or, alas, that he was no associate. Look at him now! His ft are the same, his sweetness has turn into adult (or, instead, he’s each boyish and manly), and, though not tall, he can partner Sarah Lane and other petite women with type and even panache.

Two many years ago, the pas de deux of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Nutcracker” appeared like a troublesome impediment program for Mr. Gorak. Now he and Ms. Lane make them expressive, musical, exciting. However he’s nevertheless a corps member, this tumble he danced the Poet in “Les Sylphides” (the pas de deux is a single of the trickiest assignments in the conventional repertory, seamlessly combining companion work with soloism) with excellent design, and it is great to notice that in July, he dances Franz in “Copp?lia” on the closing day of the company’s Metropolitan Opera House year.

Ms. Lane joined the Ballet Theater corps in 2004 and grew to become a soloist in 2007. She’s proven this sort of poise and beauty in soloist roles that she’s lengthy looked like ballerina likely: an previous-style Royal Ballet type, elegantly ladylike and charmingly assertive at the identical time. When the guide roles occur her way, however, she doesn’t often sustain them. Is it anxiety or deficiency of endurance? As Aurora in “The Sleeping Beauty” previous July, she even had a peculiar way, especially in Act III, of letting the viewers know that her functionality was not likely the way she had hoped. As her dancing in “Les Sylphides” showed, she’s capable of powerful poetry and allure.

You want to love so pretty and striking a dancer through a two-act or a few-act function, and, in her Dec. 19 “Nutcracker,” I mainly did. But, once more, clouds occasionally passed above her attraction.

Mr. Ratmansky’s two central “Nutcracker” pas de deux remain tough assignments. Hee Search engine optimization looks solid against the grain when the partnering gets rapidly and hectic, she’s challenging to handle. James Whiteside carries her through, with the terrific purposefulness that marks everything he does.

Gillian Murphy, the production’s first heroine, stays its best, the one particular who most easily rises to the role’s numerous ranges. The way she relishes the laughing girl inside of the triumphant princess endearingly opens up a entire new side of her: No person else pops her head out of the wings midway by means of the Sugar Plum solo with this sort of glee or such timing. Eric Tamm — handsome, pleased, devout — is now a partner worthy of her. So considerably, he’s not declared for any other direct roles this period (he joined the corps in 2007), but he looks more than all set.

New York City Ballet’s “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” carries on via Saturday at the David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Heart

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.