After my two shows this morning (first one at 9am!?) I decided I wanted to take a trip to see New York City Ballet's Nutcracker. I've lived in the city for four Christmas seasons now, and I have shamefully never seen the classic version at State Theater. I thought it was time.
My show ended at 1pm and I gradually made my way uptown thinking I'd try to get standing room for the later show at 5pm. I got to the box office around 1:30 and was pleased to hear that they did in fact have tickets available. After I paid and started to walk away, the guy was like, "No no, just go there to the ticket taker now!"
So apparently I was going to THAT show that I was half an hour late for, NOT the one I asked him for. Um, okay. Good thing I had nothing else planned, haha. So I hopped the elevator and missed the first half of the party scene. I didn't really care - I know how it goes anyway, haha.
Hearing the gorgeous Tchaikovsky music again flooded me with my own Nutcracker memories - of all the versions I've done up until today, doing Sugar Plum in a bear suit, haha. If someone were to make a soundtrack of my life, I think much of it could be dominated by the Nutcracker score.
Anyway, the show was lovely, of course. The snow scene in Act I has always been a favorite, especially in the old Boston version I grew up with. I remember standing in the pit as part of the chorus when I was dancing Chinese Tea my last year in Boston and looking up at the snow scene from there, admiring the clunking pointe shoes trying not to slip on the paper snow.
I've never been a huge fan of the Balanchine version of this ballet, and I probably shouldn't admit that. I did the Balanchine version for 2 years with Pennsylvania Ballet back in 2003, 2004, and recall not particularly liking it then either. I don't really know why...mostly it's just the first act I'm not keen on. Why is there no Snow Queen? And why do his snowflakes carry around things that look like giant cotton Q-tips?
Enough complaining. The dancers were beautiful. And Act II was really really really good. Sara Mearns as Sugar Plum was great, but her variation was ruined by a SCREAMING child having a fit during the entire thing. Parents should take control please, haha.
Sterling Hyltin as Dew Drop was the best of the show, I think. I remember standing in the wings always watching Waltz of the Flowers and learning practically everyone's part just from staring at it repeatedly. That came back to me too, as I watched her - the admiration and the desire to be doing it myself. Good thing nobody was sitting behind me - I was practically dancing in my seat.
Tiler Peck as Marzipan was another highlight, and the ever-amazing Daniel Ulbricht as Chinese. It was also a marked occasion because the new group of company apprentices and recently promoted corps de ballet members are the people of my ballet generation, that I auditioned with and went to summer intensives with and so on. All looked wonderful.
Anyway, the afternoon made me nostalgic for the past and grateful for the present. As of now I still have over 60 performances at Radio City to do in the next month. On with the show!