Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center
November 29, 2010 Leave a comment
Last night, I saw Joffrey Ballet perform The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center. To give you some context, I’ve seen The Nutcracker performed several times by Northeast Youth Ballet (formerly Melrose Youth Ballet), Ballet Theatre of Boston, Boston Ballet and The Royal Ballet in London. I was hoping to go on and on about how the Joffrey Ballet has been my favorite Nutcracker experience so far, but that’s not the case. The Royal Ballet still takes the cake.
The Nutcracker took place at the Opera House, the second-largest theater in the Center according to their website. The Opera House is a sea of red fabric with gold detail. The ceiling centerpiece is a circle of crystal lights that feels a bit outdated, but glamorous nonetheless. I sat in the first row of the second tier and the view was still great. I give one point to The Kennedy Center for that versus the Royal Opera House in London, which has seats with obstructed views. Seriously, there are some seats where you can’t see half the stage.
I always hate the party scene of The Nutcracker, but the dancer who played Fritz made it somewhat interesting. Although he was completely over acting, he was so fun to watch and looked like he was legitimately having a good time playing the part. During the battle scene, a few moments that made me smile were seeing the mice wearing armor and riding cavalry, and the toy soldiers pulling out a large map in the middle of fighting. I was excited when the snow scene finally came, but was distracted by the site of Clara sitting on a rocking horse. I’m also pretty sure I saw a couple of the snowflakes run into each other. There was a male lead in the snow scene who did a great fuete/attitude turn combo, but that was one of the only moves that caught my eye.
In the second act, I was surprised that I really enjoyed the Arabian dance. I still liked my favorites – Spanish and Russian, but the Arabian dance was much more technically impressive. The female lead had amazing back and leg extension, and during the finale she did this cool lift turn where she landed with both knees tucked into the arms of her male partner. Most impressive was a ponche en releve that she executed while holding a scarf. I was trying to find the words to explain it, but luckily I found this picture from LASplash.com.
If you saw The Joffrey Ballet at The Kennedy Center, what were your favorite moments? How did this performance compare to other Nutcrackers you’ve seen in the past?