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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
New York City Ballet (NYCB)
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George Balanchine's The Nutcracker 2006 at New York City Ballet

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 13, 2006
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

Featured Dance Company:

New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet (office)
New York State Theater
20 Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023

New York City Ballet
George Balanchine's
The Nutcracker
(NYC Ballet Website)

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Marketing and Communications, Managing Director, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Manager, Press Relations, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center

About the Author:
(See December 30, 2004 50th Anniv. of The Nutcracker Review).
(See Other NYC Ballet Reviews).

The Nutcracker: Ballet in two acts, four scenes, and prologue, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816), Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Costumes by Karinska, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor, David LaMarche, Violin Soloist, Kurt Nikkanen, Performed by Sterling Hyltin as Sugarplum Fairy, Andrew Veyette as Her Cavalier, Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop, Jonathan Stafford as Dr. Stahlbaum, Dena Abergel as Frau Stahlbaum, Clara Ruf-Maldonado as Marie and The Little Princess, Sebastien Peskind as Fritz, Adam Hendrickson as Herr Drosselmeier, Ghaleb Kayali as His Nephew, The Nutcracker, and The Little Prince, Likolani Brown and Jenelle Manzi as Harlequin and Columbine, Aaron Severini as Soldier, Christian Tworzyanski as Mouse King, Teresa Reichlen as Coffee, Daniel Ulbricht, Rachel Piskin, and Elizabeth Walker as Tea, Sean Suozzi as Lead Candy Cane, Ashley Laracey as lead Marzipan Shepherdess, Adrian Danchig-Waring as Mother Ginger, Savannah Lowery and Gwyneth Muller as Leading Flowers, the Company as Maids, Parents, Children, Mice, Soldiers, Snowflakes, Angels, Hot Chocolate, Candy Canes, Marzipan Shepherdesses, Polichinelles, and Flowers, and Students of School of American Ballet.

Each Holiday season, NYC Ballet has new surprises in its inspired and perfect Nutcracker production, replete with a giant Christmas tree that grows and grows to Tschaikovsky's dramatic score, a doll bed that spins and glides, a Nutcracker doll that grows into a warring soldier, a Mouse King with multiple heads, an uncle that makes a grandfather clock shake and strike, a full-blazing onstage snowstorm, multiple dancing sweets, like hot chocolate and candy canes, a campy Mother Ginger in drag, with a dress that hides eight dancers, and sumptuous dancing flowers with pastel petals amidst a fragrantly bedecked stage. The biggest surprise in today's matinee was Sterling Hyltin's performance as The Sugarplum Fairy. Ms. Hyltin is a recently promoted soloist, and she literally glows and glitters with exuberance and ecstasy, each and every moment onstage.

In 2004, I noted, in a review of Western Symphony, that "Sterling Hyltin is a dancer to watch and to gaze upon, as she is one bucking bronco, with or without a western motif". Today, she was one flowing fairy, without a western motif. Ms. Hyltin was mesmerizing in her solos and pas de deux with the dashing Andrew Veyette as Her Cavalier. Their figures were ravishing, but it was Ms. Hyltin who magnetized the moment. Megan Fairchild, as Dewdrop, was perky but softly elegant, in contrast to her signature spins and soars. Other predictable surprises, not an oxymoron, since Teresa Reichlen and Daniel Ulbricht are predictably sensational, but with new ornamentations in each performance, were Ms. Reichlen's Coffee and Mr. Ulbricht's Tea. Ms. Reichlen's backbends and writhing gyrations were sensual and striking. Mr. Ulbricht's elevation and energy are always outsized and extraordinary.

Adam Hendrickson, as Herr Drosselmeier, was less frightening and more entertaining, perfect for my three year-old niece, who accompanied me with her mother at today's matinee. In fact, this is a ballet for all ages, as my little niece did not take her attention off the stage for a second and fully comprehended the plot and décor. Speaking of décor, Rouben Ter-Arutunian's detailed scenery, with snowy forests and enormous candy treats, has stood the test of time, as have Karinska's costumes, such as ribbon-beaded tutus and exotic Coffee skirt. Of note, as well, were Dena Abergel as Marie's nurturing mother, Clara Ruf-Maldonado and Ghaleb Kayali as The Little Princess and The Little Prince, who were onstage interminably, Aaron Severini and Christian Tworzyanski as Soldier and Mouse King, Sean Suozzi as a hyper-athletic candy cane, with a hoop dance to boot, Ashley Laracey's Marzipan Shepherdess, and Adrian Danchig-Waring's stylized drag character, Mother Ginger. Kurt Nikkanen's violin solo was rapturous, and, as always, David LaMarche kept the fine NYC Ballet Orchestra in splendid timing with scintillating texture.

I'm already looking forward to George Balanchine's The Nutcracker 2007. Kudos to George Balanchine.
Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop and The Flowers in NYCB's 'George Balanchine's The Nutcracker(TM)'

Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop and The Flowers
in NYCB's "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker(TM)"

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Sterling Hyltin as The Sugarplum Fairy and Andrew Veyette as Her Cavalier in NYCB's 'George Balanchine's The Nutcracker(TM)'

Sterling Hyltin as The Sugarplum Fairy and Andrew Veyette as Her Cavalier
in NYCB's "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker(TM)"

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Dance of the Snowflakes in NYCB's 'George Balanchine's The Nutcracker(TM)'

Dance of the Snowflakes
in NYCB's "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker(TM)"

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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