Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Nutcracker

I read in one of Walt Disney's biographies, or in more than one, I can't remember, that thanks to Disney's Fantasia, the performance of The Nutcracker ballet became a widespread Christmas tradition. The combination of Disney plus Christmas fantasy along with the fairy tale world of classical ballet rings that strong of a bell in the collective mind.
This season, while watching The Nutcracker with the Madison ballet, choreography by W. Earl Smith, I was thinking how wonderful and amazing it is that at this day and age, when cynicism seems to rule, people still flock to the whimsy of Victorian decors, toy magic and the warmth of family gathering- for reasons other than commercial- in this most celebrated occasion.
Earl Smith has the classical Disney touch. Not because of sharing, with Disney, the Nutcracker theme, or the fairy tale world. Many people put together presentations around these with opulence, professionalism but no magic. But in Earl Smith's Nutcracker there is freedom and tradition at the same time. Innocence and control. A daring reinvention of characters not only in the realm of angelic gravity defying ballet world but also the sinister, the down to earth and the laugh arousing, all in synchrony with the lights and colors of each scene, each movement, leap or step. There is purity. Not the purity of naivete- none of us can be naive, in the age of electronic communication- but that of courage. The courage to purity.
(The sculpture above is by my father Edgar Duvivier and the bird...well, that is purity)

No comments: