No Clara in the American Ballet Theatre "Nutcracker" has seemed so completely beguiled by her dream as corps member Bonnie Moore when she made her debut in the role with an otherwise familiar cast Sunday afternoon in Shrine Auditorium.
Sustained through all the events in Clara's dream, this sense of stars in her eyes helped Moore make the transition from her sunny, active participation in the party scenes--and also helped give her soft, lyrical approach to the choreography a persuasive raison d'etre.
Although Moore capitalized on beautiful line and delicate phrasing elsewhere, her technique seemed barely adequate for Clara's demanding Act II solo. Still, this was a highly promising performance with moments of very special radiance.
Incidentally, artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov and his retinue (including his assistant, a ballet mistress, a principal dancer, a major soloist and others) should be restrained from again disrupting a performance by leaving their seats en masse before a ballet finishes.