Saturday, December 08, 2007
#7 Favorite Christmas Movie: The Nutcracker (Baryshnikov)
The Nutcracker danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. I remember when this movie came out in 1977. It was captivating. I loved it and looked forward to watching it every year. I was sad when they quit playing it on TV, but now it's on DVD so I can be happy again.
The Nutcracker marked the initial choreographic effort of Baryshnikov, universally hailed as one of the world’s greatest dancers. Under Baryshnikov’s inventive direction, the traditionally lighthearted story of a small girl’s dream on Christmas Eve is transformed into a more complex theatrical experience. Broadcast regularly on PBS, this American Ballet Theatre performance (directed in the studio by Tony Charmoli) stars Gelsey Kirkland as Clara and Mikhail Baryshnikov at the peak of his artistic ability as the Prince/Nutcracker.
Uhmm, American Ballet Theatre? You mean there were other people dancing in this movie and it wasn't just a solo by Baryshnikov? [Oh, wait. Did I type that out loud? Oops.]
Seriously, I've seen over a dozen different versions of The Nutcracker. I've even seen it live several times. (Remember, McKenna?) But none of them, and I do mean NONE, are as exquisite as this one. Not only is this Baryshnikov at his absolute best, but the other dancers are very good too. The orchestra is wonderful. The direction and choreography spectacular. The stage settings and costumes are clever and fun to look at. It is, in all aspects, perfection.
Now playing on my iPod: Baryshnikov dancing...