The ‘Nutcracker’ challenge


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What’s the biggest challenge for every one of the innumerable North American ballet troupes that stage ‘The Nutcracker’ every year as a way to, let’s face it, make as much money as possible? According to a report by Susan Josephs in the Arts & Books section, it’s trying to make their version different from all the others.

For example, Los Angeles Ballet, now presenting its third annual ‘Nutcracker,’ is proud of the vivid masks worn by the dancers who portray marauding mice in Act 1. Yvonne Mounsey, artistic director of the Westside Ballet Company, likes the glitter that falls slowly as her version ends. And Inland Pacific Ballet says its new tradition is flying in a Paris-based mime to portray Drosselmeyer, the heroine’s godfather, who presents her with a nutcracker doll as a Christmas gift.

This year in Los Angeles, the most ‘authentic’ ‘Nutcracker’ is shaping up to be the one offered by Russia’s Kirov Ballet at the Music Center. Josephs reports that it strays little from the original 1892 production, created by Marius Petipa for the Russian Imperial Ballet. With a little help from Tchaikovsky, of course.


-- Craig Fisher