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YuanYuan did not bow. The ballerina that I paid $62 to see did not come out and bow at the close of the Nutcracker. I’m disappointed, but not angry. I think I was the only one in the audience who applauded her performance. Actually it took forever for the crowd to warm up! You can always tell whenever the audience is full of dancers because they cheer for the performers when they execute their pieces well. Unfortunately, Saturday night was full of Marin-ites and their spoiled rich kids who were more interested in seeing other dressed up than appreciating the hard work of the performers. Feh. So perhaps YuanYuan felt dejected and refused to come on stage and bow.
Her performance as usual was perfection. Her lines are so perfect that they seem to cut through time and space like a calligraphic sword or an ink brush perhaps. It’s almost as if she’s painting brush strokes with her arms and legs with any attitude and jete. As King and Queen of the Snow, YuanYuan and Ruben transitioned the sequence from the dark interior of a living room into a shining winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes making their entrance via a chariot drawn by silver horses. It was the most beautiful scene in the ballet.
Another disappointment for me was the Arabian Coffee piece. It totally went for the cliché as opposed to the artistry of dancing sans point. For a truly marvelous performance of Arabian Coffee, see the Nutcracker film with Mc Cauley Kulkin. It’s a wonderfully choreographed piece. It’s a solo but a excellent one. However, I had rather hoped to see it performed as a pas de deux for Sakura and Sydney reference for the 5th issue of Superficial. I guess I’ll have to choreograph that one myself.
The performance the audience DID warm up to was the Russian Candy Canes. The center principle really knocked the socks off of the Marin-nite audience! Once I heard gasps and comments from a husband behind me, I took it as a cue to start the round of applause. I had to instigate a number of applauses before the crowd finally caught on! Yes it is customary to remain politely quiet during a performance—but that’s mainly Opera and Symphony. When a ballet dancer is KILLING her toes to please you it is more than ok to clap your hands raw. Good thing too. For there was a casting change for the Russian Candycanes which may have disappointed some members of the audience, so the understudies danced their asses off. BRAVO. Later on the center principle ran out of energy and failed to ballon as high as his partners which caused a misalignment as they exited the stage…but I forgave him. The most charming of the suites was the Chinese Tea dance. If Disney Feature wants to alter the original Fantasia sequence of the mushroom which is cute to Westerners yet offensive to the Chinese they can use the SF Ballet’s solution for the piece. It was performed by a qued soloist and a bright red happy dragon. We all applauded the soloist and the charming dragon who stuck out its head from off stage to take a bow. That was so adorable I just HAVE to paint it one day.
So Queen of the Snow, Tan YuanYaun, did not bow. In fact none of the first act performers returned to the curtain to bow. I don’t know if they were complying to the short term memory of the modern audience of this is truly ballet protocol. It is certainly new to me for EVERY performer of Spring 2006’s Swan Lake returned to the stage to take their bows. I do hope this practice is customary to the Nutcracker’s young audience and not the rest of the ballets. If I am going to spring $88 for grand tier tickets to see Don Quixote this coming May, I want to see the ballerina who plays Kitri in the first act to return to the closing to receive her bravas of approval from yours truly!