Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially Nutcracker season. New York audiences have a number of alternatives including:
Balanchine’s 1954 classic runs from November 27-January 3 at the Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center. Tickets are still available, although they are not cheap. Third ring tickets are generally $120, with Orchestra and First Ring seats at over $150. Fourth Ring seats are generally $65-$95.
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet
I loved the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Nutcracker last year. Gelsey Kirkland Ballet’s Nutcracker production is on a smaller scale relative to more grand, elaborate, and expensive NYCB and ABT works. Although smaller in stature the work packs quality dancing from dancers that Artistic Directors Kirkland and husband Michael Chernov have assembled over the past five years. The level of dancing is quite strong; I actually enjoyed some of the doll and divertissement dances more in the Kirkland production than in NYCB and ABT’s versions. For some reason, some of the doll and divertissement pieces at the major companies restrain the dancers, forcing them into bland, simple steps where they don’t do very much.
Performances will be at the new Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center (29 Jay Street) in Dumbo, Brooklyn, December 10-13 and 17-20. A high quality event that is definitely lighter on the wallet relative to NYCB as ticket prices range from $20-$45.
New York Theatre Ballet
For families with young children, check out the Keith Michael’s Nutcracker by New York Theatre Ballet, which offers three performances on December 11-13. The company caters to young children with one-hour performances with no intermission. The dancing is fine and, with all the children in the audience, you won’t be humiliated if your child shouts “I need to go potty!” Our family enjoyed the performances until my daughter turned six and we graduated to the New York City Ballet Nutcracker.
The New York Times has a nice summary of New York area Nutcrackers this year.
Ovation Network Battle of The Nutcrackers
Ovation Network has its annual Battle of the Nutcrackers featuring NYCB, Dutch National Ballet, Wiener Staatsballett, and a work from Youri Vámos.
From the Ovation website:
BATTLE OF THE NUTCRACKERS 2015 SCHEDULE
11/28, 12:30pm ET — The Nutcracker (1993)
This 1993 film version of the timeless story is directed by Emile Ardolino and tells the tale of a young girl who falls asleep after a Christmas party to dream that her gifts come to life. The film features a young Macaulay Culkin, and is narrated by Kevin Kline.
12/5, 12:30pm ET — Peter Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
This performance comes courtesy of the world famous Dutch National Ballet.
12/12, 12:30pm ET — Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (2012)
With its accent on the psychological contents of the work’s underlying tale, Rudolf Nureyev’s world-famous choreography of the “Nutcracker” is performed by the Wiener Staatsballett for the first time.
12/19, 12:30pm ET — The Nutcracker (Youri Vámos: 2009)
Hungarian choreographer Youri Vámos combined E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “Nutcracker” story with Charles Dickens’ immortal A Christmas Carol for a colorful dance production in which ballet, music and film are skillfully combined.
12/21, 11:00pm ET — The Battle of the Nutcrackers
The fan favorite Nutcracker performance is screened as an encore performance for Ovation’s annual holiday tradition!