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New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker

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As a long time Friend and follower of Birmingham Royal Ballet I have seen their Nutcracker many times; but last week my husband and I were priviledged to be in New York and were able to get tickets for the New York City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. The choreography this time by George Balanchine rather than Sir Peter Wright. I thought readers of this Forum may be interested to read a little about both the performance and the venue.

New York City Ballet perform at the David Koch Theatre, which is part of the Lincoln Centre and this appears to be their home; the founding choreographers being George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

When we arrived at the theatre we realised what a great Family occasion this was going to be.There was the space to sell Company Merchandise in various areas of the foyer; and Volunteers were on duty at Stalls entitled " Do you want to know more about Ballet?" At these Stalls you could collect A4 sheets about the Choreographers, the history of NYC Ballet, the history of The Nutcracker and one all about "Ballet Positions".

We also enjoyed watching children, and their families, having their photograph taken with, on this evening one of the Dancers in full costume and make-up as a Snowflake. She stood in front of a painting of the Snowflake Ballet Scene ( before the performance and again in the Interval) and posed in different positions with the children. The families can take away a souvenir photograph and the Company raise money in this way.

The Ballet itself was very different to Sir Peter Wright's version! But very enjoyable and very colourful. Many children take part and they are Students of The School of American Ballet. The big differences in Choreography are in Act 2, when "Hot Chocolate" represents the Spanish Dance; "Coffee"- the Arabian Dance and "Tea" the Chinese Dance. The "Candy Canes" represent The Mirlitons. Additional characters are the Marzipan Sheperdesses and "Mother Ginger" who is danced by a male dancer and who wears an enormous skirt from which emerge lots of children - The Polchinelles. The Flower Dance follows and then the pas de deux danced by The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. In this production he is not referred to as The Prince!

As you can imagine the colourful costumes in this production make you feel as if you are in a kingdom of sweets and other delicious delicacies; and the giant Christmas Tree which rose up from under the Stage was completely magical.

We loved our visit to the NYC Ballet and were made very welcome by every member of the Theatre Staff both before and after the performance. I can recommend a visit to see this Company for any readers who may be lucky enough to be visiting New York.

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Hello Bridget, welcome, and thank you for making such a major posting as your debut! That sounds like a very interesting experience, and perhaps has some suggestions that British companies could take on board, marketing-wise, if there's enough front-of-house space in the theatres in which they perform. I saw the live relay after Christmas last year, but have never been able to make it to NYC to see it in person.

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Also the NYC Ballet sponsor major educational talks and events - such as the Royal Ballet charge FAR TOO MUCH FOR IMHO - for FREE ... sometimes in tandem with the New York Public Library at Lincoln Centre .... and have done so for literally decades ... thus building generations of informed viewers and, dare one say it, a future.


One might like to suggest that the Royal Ballet - with MUCH more publicsubsidy (even with the intended cut) than NYCB EVER received - might want to give this a try on behalf of both old and new devoted partrons ... but I sadly fear that this has probably been suggested MANY times before ... without ANY effect. Money and the short-term still, I fear, seem to speak over all ... or at least that - in comparison - is how it would appear at the RB. Please, I beg of you, to correct me if I am wrong. (I would certainly be delighted to be.)


Wishing one and all a VERY happy Xmas.

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