Kirov Ballet

 

Los Angeles, California - Kirov Ballet

The Kirov Ballet Snows Perfection

December 17, 2008 - By Brad Maxwell

Kirov_Chandler3sLos Angeles in December isn't exactly about snow, but if you stop by the Music Center you will find a snowy perfection in the Nutcracker performed by the Kirov Ballet.  Clearly one of the best companies anywhere in the world, the Kirov Ballet's Nutcracker is a spectacular  blend of dance and music that fills your soul with Christmas beauty.

In 1892, the Kirov Ballet performed the first Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.   And now it's 116 years later and the Kirov Ballet has brought it's beloved production to Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  Along with it's large touring company, the Kirov is also joined by the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre.  This is a rare opportunity to  experience the Tchaikovsky holiday with the founding team of the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra.  Six performances only, December 17 through December 20, 2008.

The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre accompanies the Kirov Ballet and provides a performance where dancers and orchestra are perfectly timed and synchronized for the greatest theatrical impact.  The Kirov's Nutcracker is performed in three Acts and with two intermissions.  In Act II, although the Snow Scene doesn't have an actual snow fall, there are more dancers on stage than I have ever seen.  A total of 24 Snowflake dancers fill the stage. The part of Masha, in most productions named Clara, is a part performed by a principle dancer instead of a young member of the ballet.  In fact, the principle dancer performing Masha also dances in the grand pas de deux at the end of Act III.  In addition, Act III also excludes a Mother Ginger and the usual grand pas de deux is expanded to include four additional male dancers who assist with a spectacular series of lifts.

Kirov_Chandler2sAct I is based in a German town in the early 1800's in the Stahlbaum's magnificently decorated house.  The costumes are extravagant and with early origins.  The men wear breeches, buckle shoes and white wigs.  The women wear large exquisite gowns with hair decorations on tall wigs.  Drosselmeyer is dressed in a black coat and breeches and surprises the guests when he wears a green cape with stars and sorcerer's hat as he performs magic.  He entertains the guests, first with puppet show about a mouse battle, then with a harlequin doll, a ballerina doll and a Arabian dancer. 

Act II starts as Masha (Evgenia Obraztsova) goes to bed and begins to dream.  The stage goes dark and she finds herself back in the main room surrounded by little gray mice.  Kirov_Chandler1sThe Mouse King emerges from the center of the tree and an army of soldiers, lead by the Nutcracker (Vladimir Shklyarov), appear and defeat the mouse king and mice.  Drosselmeyer appears from the tree and turns Masha and the Nutcracker into a beautiful Princess and Prince who dance together in a stunning forest of evergreens dusted in snow.   The two disappear as the staged is filled by 24 Snowflake dancers.  The Waltz of Snowflakes is masterfully choreographed creating a dazzling flurry of lovely light blue Snowflakes. 

Act II brings the Princess and Prince to an enchanted island surrounded by pastel trees with sparkling candles.  They first chase off some bats and  are then greeted by a celebration of dances.  Three Spanish dancers dressed in black and pink followed by five Eastern dancers wearing veils, with their hair in braids.  There are three Chinese dancers dressed in black and white, three Trepak dancers who perform the Russian dance and a Pas De Trios who dance to what many know as Mirliton.   The Waltz of Flowers incorporates 16 couples dancing and lifting.  The women are in pink flowing dresses and the men are in pink breeches and white wigs.  The grand pas de deux, danced by the Princess and Prince, is delicate and exquisite.  The dancers are lovely and graceful and their movements are bold and dramatic.   Simply amazing!

The Kirov Ballet's Nutcracker is really amazingly beautiful.  Those with tickets should feel extremely lucky. 

 



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