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New Soviet Company Dances ‘Nutcracker’

December 23, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ The youthful Bolshoi Ballet Grigorovich Company is performing a most charming version of ″The Nutcracker.″

The Moscow import adds another variation to this season’s New York City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet performances and American Ballet Theater’s rendition of ″The Nutcracker″ on television Christmas Day.

Yuri Grigorovich, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, announced his new company in October. After performances in Moscow, the company has been touring America since Nov. 23. Its version of ″The Nutcracker″ runs through Dec. 30 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The Saturday night cast was the same as at Wednesday’s opening except for Drosselmeyer, the magician. Oleg Dedogriuk was a spry, brisk dancer in white wig in this version, not a creaky oldster. This company doesn’t have any aging members, the 60 dancers being 19 to 25.

It also doesn’t have any children. Small dancers dance the children. And when Drosselmeyer walks in with a nutcracker doll, it’s really Tamara Glasova under his arm, wearing red and a mask with a wide mouth.

Marie - called Clara in the original in 1892 - is Oksana Konobeyeva, who has a sweet face and fine form. She can’t hold balance unsupported so she moved quickly off poses that end on one toe or held the pose graciously when supported by Dmitry Tuboltsev as the Nutcracker Prince.

Tuboltsev, small and slim, has the poise of a dancer noble. He jumped high and landed lightly and securely. He is clearly a dancer to watch. Many members of this company are expected to enter the Bolshoi Ballet.

The Mouse King, Maxim Knish, also was a fine dancer. Grigorovich choreographed the mice-toy soldiers’ fight less like a fight than a dance. When the Mouse King was wounded and carried out, he twitched his claws delightfully, raising childish laughs all over the auditorium.

There’s no toy Nutcracker and no Sugar Plum Fairy here. Marie does all the leading ballerina dancing. There are five ethnic couples who have duets, a form beloved of choreographers making full-length ballets to Tchaikovsky music. Here, they’re Spanish, Indian, Chinese, Russian and a shepherd and shepherdess from France who dance pulling a gray sheep on wheels between them.

They all were very good. And the scenery, the Christmas tree becoming larger and white, was surprisingly elaborate for a touring company.

A Russian conductor, Alexander Lavrenyuk, led the orchestra.

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