San Francisco Ballet at the War Memorial Opera House
Dec. 18, 2007
Sparkly fuschia-colored life-sized dolls, dancing snow, and squeals of tiny children’s joy stir up memories of early dawn on Christmas morning, which is just what Helgi Tomasson’s maturing “Nutcracker” aims to do at each and every performance. Tuesday night was no different, with tots dressed up in their best frocks and suits, sitting at the edge of their seats, and gaping at every turn and leap. “Mom! She just got so tiny!” exclaimed one little child behind me as the tree rose high above the stage. “Ooh! Snow fairies! Hee!” piped another as Snowflakes danced out of the wings. And if I had thought about it less, I probably would have giggled with glee right along with them!
Act I plopped us in the middle of 1915 San Francisco, and the character dancers, supers, and company dancers looked right at home. The party at the Stahlbaums’ passed with ease--a group dance here, children running there, and a graceful Jessica Cohen as Clara--, and it all flowed quite well into the dancing dolls. Rory Hohenstein played the flexible and somewhat dopey harlequin, and Clara Blanco, who’s returned to SF Ballet after a one-year hiatus in England, shined as the spinning, flexedfoot dancing doll.
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Photo © Erik Tomasson