NYCB'S FIRST NUT OF THE SEASON

Photo by Paul Kolnik, copied from NYCB website.

Okay, after blabbering on about the audience Friday night and new post-ballet restaurants, on to the actual performance.

It was magical, as always. Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz were charming as the leads (the Sugarplum Fairy and her cavalier) — above headshots by Paul Kolnik, from NYCB website. I always love watching these two — Megan’s so sweet and she always seems to have this “cat who just swallowed the canary” smile on her face. She’s the ideal ballerina for this role. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t seen City Ballet in a while now, but Joaquin, who was injured at the end of last season, seems to be jumping higher and spinning far faster than ever before. As always, he was the perfect manly cavalier.

Beautiful Sara Mearns danced the other main role — Dewdrop. (Headshot by Paul Kolnik)

I wonder if something was done to the stage floor during renovations because Ashley Bouder had slipped on opening night in the new Martins ballet, and Mearns slipped twice on Friday night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mearns fall and Bouder was just kind of standing when she fell, so it made me wonder if something’s slippery. Anyway, Sara seemed a bit shaken at first, but she soon recovered and danced with her typical beautiful fluidity and lush, expansive lines.

The little girls are so cute — you can hear all the ooohs and aaaahs when Dewdrop and her ladies in pink fill the stage. Below, Megan Fairchild in that role, photo by Paul Kolnik, taken from Explore Dance.

Other highlights were the magical-seeming Christmas tree that in little Marie’s dreams rises up from the floor and shoots straight through the ceiling, Sean Suozzi as Candy Cane — the incredible things he did with that hoop! — and, even though the Chinese stereotypes bother me in the Tea section, high jumper Daniel Ulbricht did expectedly well as the lead there, although I thought I remembered that dance being longer? And of course Justin Peck was a lot o fun as Mother Ginger, the role many of us most remember from seeing the ballet during childhood.

Balanchine’s version of the Christmas classic is a little shorter with a more children-heavy cast than most, making it the ideal holiday treat for families. It runs through January 3rd.

3 Comments

  1. Of course I'm a big fan of every dancer at NYCB (pretty much), but I'm crazy about Megan and Joaquin, as well as the stunning Sara. I also think Justin Peck is a true up and comer. I see him as a principal in the not so distant future. His partnering is superb, and his dancing is very accomplished. I'm not a huge fan of “Nuts” (mostly because I've seen “Nuts” dozens of times over the decades). However, I did get a ticket yesterday for Sat. night (12/5) because “my” Wendy Whelan (my favorite ballerina ever) is performing the SP fairy. And her cavalier is the always wonderful Philip Neal. As a bonus a couple of my NYCB dancer friends are performing that night. I actually can't wait! Thanks for your review!!

  2. What a fantastic cast! I'm sorry I missed it. Ms. Fairchild does seem perfect for Sugar Plum. (I still think her turn as Swanilda in Coppelia was one of the highlights of last season.) It's kind of cool (though nerdy) to mentally assemble your dream Nutcracker cast. It's like the ballet equivalent of Build-a-Bear! You can already guess about half of mine, but I think I might start it with Fairchild.

    I wonder if the slips have something to do with just, you know, going for it at the start of the season. I mean, lord knows, Bouder goes for it just popping onto pointe. Anyway, I definitely agree with Balanchine on that: a few slips are better than playing it safe.

  3. What a fantastic cast! I'm sorry I missed it. Ms. Fairchild does seem perfect for Sugar Plum. (I still think her turn as Swanilda in Coppelia was one of the highlights of last season.) It's kind of cool (though nerdy) to mentally assemble your dream Nutcracker cast. It's like the ballet equivalent of Build-a-Bear! You can already guess about half of mine, but I think I might start it with Fairchild.

    I wonder if the slips have something to do with just, you know, going for it at the start of the season. I mean, lord knows, Bouder goes for it just popping onto pointe. Anyway, I definitely agree with Balanchine on that: a few slips are better than playing it safe.

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