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Nutcracker (Sugar Plum pas de deux) - Canto Indio [1977]

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Video Identifier: V.2011-05-0472
Run Time
0h 21m 58s
Date Produced
Ruth Page's version of the popular ballet "The Nutcracker" was premiered at McCormick Place's Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, on December 26, 1965. After this, it was presented at the Chicago Civic Opera House in 1967 & 1968; it was then presented at McCormick every holiday season from 1971 through 1997. The ballet uses Tchaikovsky's original score for the story by E.T.A. Hoffman; it was produced by Edward G. Lee, with costumes by Rolf Gérard and scenery by Sam Leve.

"Canto Indio" is a ballet choreographed by Brian Macdonald in 1967 for Harkness Ballet, set to music by Carlos Chávez. 

This video represents a practice clothes rehearsal of the Sugar Plum Fairy & Cavalier grand pas de deux from Act II of the Nutcracker, followed by a rehearsal of Canto Indio. It is often very dark, however, and thus difficult to make out. This version of Canto Indio seems to danced by Amy Rose and Greg Begley, perhaps in preparation for the Varna International Ballet Competition.
The video opens with static and a blurry shot of a stage, where a couple enters to prepare for their pas de deux. As the camera focuses more, they begin this pas de deux. After they complete the pas de deux proper, the video goes black. When it returns to the studio, the male partner begins his variation, and a person sitting in the audience appears to be calling out and gesturing critiques as he does so. When he completes the variation with a somewhat wobbly landing, the video cuts to black again before opening onto the female variation. Her rehearsal also includes a fumble, but when her variation is complete the video cuts to the couple's rehearsal of the coda. After they complete it, the video once again goes black.

A few moments later, there is a split-second frame containing a shot of the saloon/staging from Frankie and Johnny. After returning to black again, the video returns with a dark and fuzzy shot of a male dancer standing in wait. Eventually, he begins dancing with a sauté arabesque, reaches his female partner, and inaugurates a pas de deux with her. At first, she dances coyly around him, but before long the two begin dancing together in earnest. 

A few minutes later, the male partner places the female dancer on the ground, where she sits to watch him perform his variation. He then completes it by scooping her up and watching her perform her own variation. The two then return to each other and continue dancing together. Before long, they break apart again for a second round of solo variations and then come back together again. Finally, they inaugurate the finale by taking turns with more energetic coda-like solos and then a grand allego danced around the stage together, holding hands. Once they strike their final pose, both collapse, tired. The video blacks out and then ends. 

Additional Credit
Macdonald, Brian (is choreographer)
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Begley, Gregory (is performer)