You are here:   Blogs >Jessica Duchen > Nut, Cracked
Standpoint Blogs
Jessica Duchen
Friday 18th December 2009
Nut, Cracked

A special Christmas edition of our Friday Historical: what else but The Nutcracker. While 1977 may not feel all that far away (to some of us...) in ballet career terms it is light years gone - and it was a generation that brought us Mikhail Baryshnikov from Russia and Gelsey Kirkland from America, and brought them together at American Ballet Theatre.

The entire Baryshnikov Nutcracker has been cracked into 10 pieces and posted at YouTube: a version that got right to the kernel of the piece's heart. I toyed with the idea of posting the whole thing here, and would have done so were it not for the risk that I would then sit and watch it all. Here instead is a choice extract: Kirkland in the Sugar Plum Fairy solo, an exuberant pas de deux finale and then - only then - the big pas de deux that Baryshnikov must have felt, as many do, is much more emotional and equally more painful than the plain classical showpiece choreography could convey. He transformed it into a pas de trois, with our heroine and hero kept apart by the figure of Drosselmeyer, reminding Clara that it is only a dream and she and her dream Nutcracker cannot be together in reality.

Excuse me while I go and have a quick weep.


Like this article? Share, save or print using the icons below
Delicious   Digg   StumbleUpon   Propeller   Reddit   Magnoliacom   Newsvine   Furl   Facebook   Google   Yahoo   Technorati   Icerocket   Print   Mail   Twitter   

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
About Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.

Recent Blog Posts
Blog List
More Posts
Popular Standpoint topics