An Appealing Surprise: The Nutcracker featured in The New York ObserverBy Robert Gottlieb, The New York Observer
Tuesday December 20, 2011
An appealing surprise turned up at the small but always intelligent and attractive New York Theatre Ballet at the Florence Gould Auditorium. Keith Michael has replaced his own Nutcracker, performed from 1985 to 2010, with a new version, and it’s a honey. On a tiny stage with a limited number of dancers—the Snowflakes, for instance, are just four girls and two boys—he has made an hour-plus miniballet intended primarily for little kids but equally enchanting for ancients like me. It’s completely ingenious the way he deploys the pretty cut-out scenery (by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith) and the equally charming costumes (by Sylvia Taalson Nolan), and it’s extraordinary the way he achieves so much with so small an ensemble. What’s more, the choreography is musical and inventive—and fun. These are committed dancers, as much at home in this classic as they were in Tudor, Cunningham and Alston the last time I saw the company.