writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, San Francisco Bay Area edition

       Volume 1, Number 12     An online supplement to DanceView magazine

Lyrical, Witty and Nutty as a Fruitcake: The Hard Nut Swings Into Town

The Hard Nut
Mark Morris Dance Group
[presented by Cal Performances]
Zellerbach Hall
Berkeley, California
[December 10-28, 2003]
December 12, 2003

by Paul Parish
copyright © 2003 by Paul Parish

Berkeley likes to think that Mark Morris belongs here. THe director of Cal Performances, Robert Cole, not only books Morris 's company several times a year, and has set up a semi-official residency for the company at Zellerbach Auditorium, but when Christmas rolls around, Cole actually conducts the orchestra for Morris's brilliant burlesque of the Nutcracker, the really big show called The Hard Nut, which opened last Friday night once again to a delighted audience, many of whom see it every year instead of the "regular" Nutcracker.

I've myself seen it every year since it first opened here in 1996—it's played with a few breaks, almost every year since—and I find it to be, like a great comic opera, mysteriously intricate and deep, and that the more I see it, the more satisfying it becomes. This year I was shocked to realize how romantic The Hard Nut is—despite all its overt ironies, and the manifold gay references, the pas de deux for Marie (Lauren Grant) and the Nutcracker (David Leventhal) made me cry, it was so beautiful, so touching, so delicate and poignant and fresh and musical, and so beautifully danced. It has I think become more classical, more mythic, more universal over the years, as this couple has taken over the roles—rather as Apollo evolved with Farrell and Martins in the roles, except that in the case of the Hard Nut, Leventhal and Grant are musical, generous, classical in their way of moving, and WARM. This is how our parents should have fallen in love.
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What's On This Week

Dec. 7-28
San Francisco Ballet
The Nutcracker
War Memorial Opera House

Dec. 7-14
The Berkeley Ballet
The Nutcracker

Choreography by Sally Streets and Robert Nichols
Julia Morgan Theatre
2640 College Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 845-8542-
Sun 12/7/2003, 2:00 p.m.;
Fri 12/12/2003, 7:00 p.m; Sat 12/13/2003 2:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.; Sun 12/14/2003, 2:00 p.m.

Dec. 10-28
Smuin Ballet
The Christmas Ballet

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater
700 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 978-2787

Dec. 11-12
When Day Became Night
A story of ordinary citizens in times of war
Solo dance-theater created and performed by
Leigh Evans; 8:00 p.m.
Noh Space
2840 Mariposa St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 621-7978

Dec. 12-13
Mark Morris Dance Group
The Hard Nut

Zellerbach Hall
Bancroft Way and Telegraph Ave.
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 642-9988
Friday, 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Dec. 13
A collaborative effort of innovative dance works by Chris Jacobsen and Sonya Tayeh. 7:30 p.m.
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA 94039
(650) 903-6000

Dec. 13
El Color Del Flamenco

Carola Zertuche, artistic director/choreographer.
Cowell Theater
Herbst Pavilion
Ft. Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 441-3687
Saturday, 8:00 p.m.

Dec. 14
Savage Jazz Dance Company

Marin Showcase Theater
Avenue of the Flags
San Rafael, CA
(415) 472-3500







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This weeks' articles


Mindy  Aloff's Letter from New York

The Balanchine Celebration
New York City Ballet:
A Veteran and a Raw Recruit
by Mindy Aloff

Heart and Soul
by Mary Cargill

Kid Stuff
Cas Public's If You Go Down To the Woods Today
by Susan Reiter

San Francisco Ballet:
New Wheeldon (Rush)
by Rita Felciano

New Tomasson (7 For Eight)
by Paul Parish

Possokhov's New Firebird for OBT
by Rita Felciano

Moscow Festival Ballet and Scott Wells
by Paul Parish

Hamburg Ballet's Nijinsky:
Nijinsky—Lost in the Chaos
by Clare Croft

NijinskyMadness and Metaphor
by Alexandra Tomalonis

Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes
by George Jackson

Batsheva: Breaking Down Walls
by Lisa Traiger

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence
by Clare Croft

Choreographers Showcase
by Tehreema Mitha

Zoltan Nagy
by George Jackson







Rita Felciano
Alison Garcia
Ann Murphy
Paul Parish


The next issue of DanceView, a quarterly review of dance published since 1979, will be mailed out in mid-October.

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Copyright ©2003 by by DanceView
last updated on December 1, 2003