Which San Diego 'Nutcracker' Is Right For Me?
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November 17, 2017 4:47 p.m.
San Diego's Top Weekend Events: Nutcracker Roundup
Nina Garin, editor/producer, KPBS/Arts Calendar
Related Story: Which San Diego 'Nutcracker' Is Right For Me?
You are listening to "Midday Edition" on KBPS.We are still a week away from Thanksgiving, but it is already time to start thinking about holiday traditions.[ Music ]For some people, the Nutcracker is the only belly they will see all year. There will be at least one production every weekend at San Diego from Thanksgiving into the new year. How do you decide which production to see if you see any at all? Here to help us through is Nina Garin. Welcome. How exactly did Nutcracker become one of those sort of classic traditions?The Nutcracker wasn't actually a thing when he first came out in 1892. It was a ballet that was performed and that was that. The San Francisco ballet brought it over in the 40s. It really wasn't until George Ballantine reinvented it for the New York City ballet in the 1950s. He added a bunch of children and it became the Christmas tradition that we have today.50 or 60 years later, how closely do most modern productions adhere to that version he made famous? Are there a lot of varieties?Most of them have children playing Clara. That means the original romance is not there.Who is clear in the production?Clara is the main girl who receives a Nutcracker for Christmas. There is a romance, depending on the age of the dancer who plays Clara. There is actually some companies that are switching that up, like American ballet Theatre has an adult clear. There's is different, sort of bananas, but in a great way. I love it. The Washington ballet does a version that has characters from American history.We will come back to how bananas that version is. All of the versions, no matter what, they still use the iconic score. Here is the Nutcracker March.[ Music ]I have to admit, it is hard to not be cheery when listening to that. If you have not seen it before, what is the story? Clara gets a Nutcracker, a sort of toy soldier the cracks Walmart -- walnut.It is given to her by her mysterious uncle, who is magical. The Nutcracker breaks because her little brother is jealous. The uncle puts it back together and she goes off to sleep and dreams about going off in these beautiful lands of snow and suites.There are 25 different productions that will be in San Diego this year. You have written more on our website on KPBS.org. How would you break it down if you are trying to make a decision?There are the professional companies, three of them, San Diego Valley, California ballet and city belly of San Diego. Those of the ones that have the adult dancers, professional people doing the difficult roles. They do have children from their schools dancing in the children's parts. Then we have a few Russian versions, which are slightly different. I have not seen them, so I can't say specifically how. I have heard they are little different. We have some of the top ballet schools. There are several that are in San Diego that are training kids to be professionals. I would say belly art is one and -- ballet art is one and California professional ballet program is another. Then you have these community versions like the ones from how was school of ballet and things like that where you have little kids on stage for the first time.Which of those was the bananas version?:-- That one is in orange County. Misty Copeland is in a few.What makes it so special, the way they put it on?They open up and a kitchen with mice running around. It has adult men dressed as bees running around the flowers. It is really strange, but I really love it.Let's listen to one more piece of that score. This one's mother Ginger and the police Chanel's.[ Music ]I have not seen the "Nutcracker" since I was in second grade. I have not been back since. Is a good from a technical perspective, the course but -- the choreography, or one of those holiday nostalgia vehicles that you will love no matter how it is put on?You would think that because it has a lot of kids and a lot of people come see their own dancers in it. It is a family show when everyone feels nostalgic about it. There is goodin it. The snow scene is perhaps one of my favorite scenes in all of . It is a big group. It is very technical. To get it right is very difficult. It is very good. You have the sugarplum fairy. That is a super technical dance that she does with her cavalier. People do it in competitions. It is one of the variations people know. There is a little bit of nostalgia, but if you are there to watch technical ballet, you will get that, too.How may times will you see it this year?I already have tickets to American ballet Theatre. I will see it in San Francisco and maybe five local versions. I have a lot of ballet friends.Thank you."Midday Edition" is produced by me, Melissa Cabrera and Brooke Ruth. Our segment producers Emily Jankowski is our technical director. Stay with us for "KPBS Roundtable" coming up right after the break. I am Michael Lipkin in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Have a great weekend.