In the Chronicle’s Pink Section today, I talk to Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley artistic director Dennis Nahat, one of America’s most colorful Drosselmeyers. Perhaps more importantly, as seasonal consumerism kicks in, I describe 10 Bay Area holiday dance performances.
Already at church today I’ve been asked to supply my personal recommendations (which I’m always happy to do). And as much as I’d like to avoid simply promoting the big guns, the answer is simple. For kids and adults alike, San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker”–a $3.5 million production unveiled last year–is absolutely gorgeous. The sets and costumes just glow, the dancers are stupdendous, and though Helgi Tomasson’s choreography doesn’t always rise to the feeling of the music, the storytelling works beautifully. As an added bonus for those with out-of-town visitors, this “Nutcracker” is set in Edwardian San Francisco, lending a touristy touch. Depending on casting, I’ll probably attend at least three times.
For adults only (it won’t offend kids, but they won’t get the jokes), if you haven’t yet seen Mark Morris’s “The Hard Nut,” you really should. Set in the 1960’s, with set designs by cartoonist Charles Burns, it’s hilarious–but being a Morris work, it also has heart. It’s returning to UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances this year.
I have not seen the Nutcrackers but will be going to my first production in December!