Monday, December 14, 2020

San Francisco Ballet - "Nutcracker"

San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Nutcracker
Photo © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet
Streamed online Nov 27th-Dec 31st

For many Bay Area dance fans, the yearly sojourn to the War Memorial Opera House for San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker is a cherished tradition. And it’s not just about the performance. Getting dressed up in festive finery, taking in the mélange of glittery ornaments in the lobby, watching the “snow” fall from the outdoor balcony. This year that tradition won’t happen. At least not in person.

But San Francisco Ballet wasn’t about to let a December pass without the classic holiday ballet. Instead of a live theatrical format, they have created a holistic Nutcracker experience for folks to enjoy virtually through December 31st. Not only does this include a complete performance from the SFB archives, but also a plethora of Nutcracker-related activities for the whole family. It may be the first year since 1944 that SFB has been unable to stage a live Nutcracker, but they have gone to the nth degree to ensure that the two-Act narrative is still a part of 2020’s holiday season.

For me, it took a little trouble-shooting to get the performance going (they have a whole page on their website with helpful tech tips), but once I had adjusted a few settings on my end, the ballet’s various scenes went off without a hitch: the Stahlbaum living room, the mouse/soldier battle, Clara and the Nutcracker’s joyful pas de deux, the snow-laden forest and Act II’s Crystal Palace, which in many versions is referred to as the Land of the Sweets. The production that was chosen for this event represented SFB’s current version of Nutcracker, choreographed by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, though it was a little surprising that it was from back in 2007, thirteen years ago. Having said that, it was fun to see some favorite dancers that have since retired or moved onto other opportunities. And to see some of SFB’s current principals and soloists at earlier points in their career – as students or as part of the corps de ballet.

Nutcracker is available online through the end of the year – visit for more details.


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