Countdown for ABT's Nutcracker
Only eight more chances to see Alexei Ratmansky’s Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music! Next year it moves to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. It may not be as kid-friendly as New York City Ballet’s time-honored version, but it has its own beguiling assets—including a goodly dose of humor.
I loved American Ballet Theatre’s new Nutcracker when it opened in 2010 (although I had a few, um, objections). Visually and psychologically it's very three-dimensional. Clara is a real girl, pulled between her fantasy worls and her wish to grow up. The snowflakes swoop and dive and dart, they don't just drift. The big pas de deux entwines and swirls; it doesn't just hit beautiful lines.
Musically Ratmansky doesn’t make the obvious choices that would match Tchaikovsky’s climaxes. He kind of slithers underneath the music. I posted this blog about his way of subverting the crescendos. My advice is to go there not expecting the big moments but enjoying the richness of his subtler relationship to the music—and the surprising places where the funny parts crop up.
Now I’m getting nostalgic I’m a bit sad that this week will be my last viewing of this wonderful Nutcracker.
But hang on: There’s good news for NYC area audiences. This week three of the most magnificent ABT soloists will dance the lead (meaning Clara as a grown-up): Sarah Lane, Misty Copeland—who just received a Dance Magazine Award—and Stella Abrera, the latter two as debuts. I've written about why these three women, each with an unmistakable individualty, are star dancers even though they are still soloists. (If you want to see a clip of both Misty and Sarah Lane dancing at the Awards, click here.)
Photo: The snow scene from ABT's "Nutcracker." Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.
More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:
"Is your daughter the dancer?"
"Actually," I say, "I am."
"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"
"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."
Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.
You nominated your favorite dance moments so far in 2019, and we narrowed them down to this list. Now it's time to cast your vote to help decide who will be deemed our Readers' Choice picks for the year!
Voting is open until September 17th. Only one vote per person will be counted.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
The 2019–20 season is here, and with it more performances than any one person could reasonably catch. But fear not: We polled our writers and editors and selected the 31 most promising tickets, adding up to one endlessly intriguing year of dance.