A Nutcracker Life

5 months ago by

The Nutcracker has been staged in New York every year since 1954, so to say it is a time honored tradition, well, is perhaps a bit obvious. You cannot deny that George Balanchine’s production of Tschaikovsky’s ballet is not only magical, but something not to be missed in a lifetime. And so, with the holiday fast approaching, we thought we’d once more visit the New York City Ballet (all 90 dancers of the company, plus the 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and two casts of 50 students from the School of American Ballet!! as they embark on a month long journey performing a ballet that’s captivated audiences for years..

lauren lovette new york city ballet garance dore

lauren lovette garance dore nyc ballet

lauren lovette new york city ballet garance dore

lauren lovette new york city ballet garance dore

new york city ballet garance dore

new york city ballet garance dore

Don’t be fooled by how seamlessly smooth watching a performance might look – this is a full-scale production demanding serious heavy lifting, it’s one of the most complex, theatrically, in the ballets repertory. Take for example the one-ton Christmas tree that floats upward to a grandiose height of 40 feet, dwarfing the dancers onstage – no figment of imagination here. Or the flutter of snowflakes gently falling as the appropriately titled “Waltz of the Snowflakes” takes place – enchanting beyond belief (Erik will attest). But it would be impossible not to mention the costume of Mother Ginger, a costume that weighs in at 85 pounds and takes three people just to handle during the performance.

The Sugar Plum Fairy is perhaps the most esteemed role of the play, and so we followed along principal dancer Lauren Lovette for this performance. If her name hadn’t implied it, she is as lovely, jovial and sweet as the character she plays. She starts her day at the theatre applying her serious stage makeup (all while singing along to her iPod) and then finds her way to the hairdressers for her picture-perfect bun. Then it’s time for (what else?) ballet class, to get warmed up and stretched properly, followed by a quick spin on the electric bicycle and she’s ready to take the stage in her first costume. A lovely pale pink adorned with crystals…

It may be a story we know, but it’s the fantasy that draws you in, and will linger in your memory for years to come…

new york city ballet garance dore

new york city ballet garance dore

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lauren lovette new york city ballet garance dore

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Thank you to the New York City Ballet

Words : Brie Welch | Photos: Erik Melvin

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