Not the Nutcracker 1


LA_DANSE_1_Rehearsal_Nutcracker.350w_263hBy now many of you will have seen the film from which this marvelous image is plucked — a mash-up of mesdemoiselles pounding the floorboards in Frederick Wiseman’s ballet documentary “LA DANSE.”

They’re Paris Opera Ballet dancers hoofing it in Rudolph Nureyev’s version of Tchaikowsky’s “Casse-Noisette” or “The Nutcracker.”

It’s my favorite scene in the movie. You gotta see these girls thumping the wood floor with their pointe shoes, their coaches cracking the whip and hurling verbal cues above the clatter. It’s just unbelievable. Think of the cattle herding scene in Howard Hawks’ “Red River.”

But guess what — The Nutcracker doesn’t always look this good. In fact, more often it looks like this.

I write in this Friday’s Los Angeles Times about a stalwart community ballet troupe that provides a Nutcracker alternative: “The Snow Queen,” based on the Hans Christian Andersen fable about a bad-spell-inducing mirror.  Read it and enjoy!

One comment on “Not the Nutcracker

  1. Albert Dec 19,2009 5:49 pm

    I found ‘La Danse’ very interesting, BUT I don’t like Wiseman’s preference
    for not identifying anyone until the final credits roll. Also the use of
    available lighting led to a very murky, and sometimes fuzzy, image.
    The dancers were wonderful, but I could have done with a few more
    classical excerpts rather than the mostly contemporary, and mostly
    dreadful, ones. Paris Opera Ballet has some Balanchine in their repertoire;
    why not some of that?

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