"The Hard Nut" tag
Mark Morris Dance Group in The Hard Nut.© Frank Wing. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – San Francisco

★★★★★   The house was abuzz on Friday evening for the opening performance of Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut. It’s been five years since Cal Performances hosted the production, and clearly fans had been anxiously awaiting its reappearance.

Aaron Loux and Billy Smith in The Hard Nut.© Julieta Cervantes. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – New York

★★★★✰   Few alternative takes on tradition survive this long and The Hard Nut remains as subversive as it is satisfying.

Mark Morris's The Hard Nut.© Julieta Cervantes. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – New York

As with the Balanchine version, the Hard Nut’s success is a foregone conclusion.

The Snowflakes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

The Nutcracker – from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Gelsey Kirkland Ballet – New York

So far this season I’ve seen three “traditional” Nutcrackers: Ratmansky’s version for American Ballet Theatre, Gelsey Kirkland’s, and the familiar and much-loved 1954 staging by George Balanchine for New York City Ballet. All three have their charms…

Mark Morris Dance Group perform The Hard Nut.© Stephanie Berger. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Morris Dance Group – The Hard Nut – San Francisco

I always enjoy The Hard Nut even though there isn’t a lot of choreography.

Mark Morris Dance Group – Dido and Aeneas – New York

It is something of a cliché to say it, but the guiding principle of Morris’s Dido – as in the more recent Socrates – is simplicity. No single element – musc, words, dance – is privileged above the others.

Allysen Hooks, BJ Randolph, and Evan Teitelbaum in Closing Bell.© Amber Star Merkens. (Click image for larger version)

Dance Heginbotham – Twin, Closing Bell – Jacob’s Pillow

Once in a while we experience one of those serendipitous evenings in which we show up with few expectations, only to encounter an oasis of structure, understated virtuosity and, best of all, musical intelligence.

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