Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nutcracker 2009 Begins

We're all back now from our layoff and are into week two of Nutcracker rehearsals. Everyone always asks why we have to keep rehearsing Nut after so many years. Well... it doesn't matter how many years you've done it, it's still hard! And it still needs rehearsing. It could easily look tired or sloppy to the audience if we're not careful, vigilant, and keep it up to snuff.

Nutcracker is also the time of year when several dancers get to cut their teeth on some new, challenging roles, so for them it's certainly not a time to be complacent. Be sure to look for some young new faces out there this year. The irony is that we have the shortest rehearsal period of the season to get Nut up to speed--- only eleven days in the studio before starting tech rehearsals at the theater. That's not a lot of time, even for a veteran!

This is also the first year in many that we've not gone on our annual pilgrimage to Anchorage, Alaska over Thanksgiving weekend to do six performances of Nutcracker. It was lovely to have the long holiday weekend at home, but strange-- I couldn't remember the last time I had such an experience, nor what to do with it! All we could do was think about how it was our last chance to relax until December 27...


  1. It's a great pleasure to see dancers doing so many new roles each year. I look forward to seeing who's doing what this year.

    Best of luck with the accelerated rehearsal schedule.


  2. I was seriously considering becoming a subscriber and supporter of the OBT until this performance.

    1. No live extreme let-down that was significantly detrimental to my experience.

    2. Over-use of children. I paid to see a professional performance. Had I wanted to see a children's recital, I would have attended one. I expect professional dancers performing on a professional level when I pay professional prices.

    3. The choreography was "dumbed down" in many places, not showing the elegance nor complexity I have come to expect from OBT.

    If this is the best you can do in a showcase event, Mr. Stowell, you will find my arts dollars being spent elsewhere. This is too bad, as you can use the support from people like me, that may become new subscribers and supporters that haven't been previously.

  3. I'm really disappointed to hear how disappointed YOU were, Shoug. The dancers of OBT mourn the loss of our orchestra every bit as much as, if not more than, anyone else. We've felt its absence at every performance, but have also tried to keep spirits high by delivering to our audiences a show that makes up for what is missing in terms of live music with vitality, polish, and exciting dancing.

    The choreography is the same as it has been every season that we've done the George Balanchine Nutcracker-- nothing has been changed or "dumbed down". Children have always had a large part in Balanchine's Nutcracker, and we do take pride in making sure they are diligently rehearsed and understand that they are not just there for "cute factor" but have important dancing to do. I'm really sorry if you were unsatisfied with what you saw.

    However, please do consider coming to see one of our other programs this season. Midsummer will feature our full orchestra again, and The Four Temperaments is as complex and master-worthy of any neoclassical Balanchine ballet you will ever see. I do believe that the quality of dancers in OBT is as high or higher than it has ever been, and we will continue to hang on through lean times until we can bring back live music at every performance.