01 November 2009

Let's Review: The Prima Princessa Nutcracker

A big part of my childhood was seeing the New York City Ballet Nutcracker every couple of years. For me, it's the ur Nutcracker: the sets, the costumes, the choreography, the specifics of the plot. I love the movie of it that was made in 1997, even though Macaulay Caulkin should have been left on the cutting room floor - all he does is mug for the camera - but I guess they felt that they needed a "name" "star" for a theatrical release. I digress.

The child has been captivated by the Prima Princessa Swan Lake that I brought home from BlogHer, so I was happy when they offered to send me their new release: Prima Princessa Presents The Nutcracker. I'm happy to report that their Nutcracker is equally as charming as their Swan Lake.

Again, there's the animated fairy as narrator - intercut with pre-schoolers dancing around on the lawn and in the snow, serious young ballet students from the School of American Ballet demonstrating steps like passé, glissade and sauté, and clips from the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker.

You get the flavor of the ballet's story, in a kind of Cliff Notes way. I was interested in seeing the bits of the SF Nutcracker - the differences between it and NYCB were fascinating to me (the mouse king gets done in by a mousetrap, Mother Ginger has a pet bear). There's a little education going on - you see ballet steps as demonstrated in a classroom, as attempted by the little ones, and in the choreography. And while the DVD is likely to appeal to little girls, the producers were careful to include male dancers: there are little boys cavorting around, and boys demonstrating steps in ballet class, and plenty of men in the stage production.

I was disappointed that the credits didn't identify any of the dancers (or if they do, I completely missed it) and I couldn't find that information on the Prima Princessa website. But I'm the kind of geek that wants to know who's who - most people probably don't care. (I'm guessing that all of the SF Ballet footage was from their fairly recent DVD of The Nutcracker.)

The verdict from the five year old? "I love that movie."



Disclosure: I got a free copy of this DVD from the producer. If you buy it on Amazon, it'll cost you about $11.49. No one paid me for this review.

10 comments:

slouchy said...

These are the times when I wish I had a little girl.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My oldest daughter danced Clara for two years in our local theatre production of the Nutcracker. It's definitely a Christmas tradition.

Rima said...

Thanks for blogging this - it sounds right up our alley!

painted maypole said...

MQ has taken an interest in ballet... this might be a good movie for her.

coldspaghetti said...

Cool! My kids LOVE the SF Nutcracker (aka: "Christmas Dancers" -- recorded off of PBS last year). Will have to check out Swan Lake!

Pgoodness said...

This sounds like a perfect Christmas gift for my cousin's daughters - unique and fun! Thanks!

Nap Warden said...

Miss Peach loves the Prima Princessa DVD's...I think they're great:)

bernthis said...

I think Phoebe would love that. I think I just found her first Hannukah present

The LIbrary Lady said...

I am going to have to see if I can take a look at it and perhaps buy it from the library.

Meanwhile JR is this year's "Sugar Plum Fairy" at her ballet school, but if she doesn't buckle down and practice I may have to do it myself.
(After all--I know the dance too though I'm not as good at those arabesque turns are she is :D )

Kyla said...

This might be something KayTar would enjoy.