Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Nutcracker Weekend

The night before our trip to Manhattan for the New York Theatre Ballet's abbreviated Nutcracker last Sunday, I came across, on Netflix, the 1986 film version with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the London Symphony Orchestra.

To cut down the ballet to a child-friendly one hour, the New York Theatre Ballet omitted the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, so I thought I'd post the clip from Nutcracker: The Motion Picture here; Kadoty86 has a number of scenes on her YouTube channel. The dancer is Patricia Barker, who retired back in 2007 as a favorite of many dance fans in Seattle.

The NYBT production we saw with the children the next day was precious, in a good way. The choreography made it easy to follow the story while also giving the dancers lots of room to show their stuff. It was a young group that danced with verve; my daughter was transfixed.

The only distraction was the tinny recorded music. I know that the company can't afford a full band, but surely someone can put together a good chamber version that would be affordable and engaging.

But if you want to give your children the Nutcracker experience, this is the one. It's short, pretty, and good.