The new Joffrey Ballet "Nutcracker" leaves nothing to chance.
Every flake of snow, wisp of smoke and granule of glitter-dust at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion seems meticulously calculated in terms of its stage-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, too. But even in a mechanized extravaganza, individual performances always make a difference, so the new principals and soloists in the cast on Tuesday filled their roles in ways quite unlike the dancers at the local premiere last Friday.
The changes were not always for the better. Take Carl Corry, for example, miscast as little Fritz, the brother of the ballet's child-heroine and, in this staging, the virtuosic centerpiece in the Waltz of the Snowflakes. Next to the real children who appeared in the party scene, Corry was simply too tall and too old. Playing animatedly with Christmas toys, he looked not childlike but retarded and, similarly, all the force he could muster in the bravura Snow choreography proved no substitute for the lightness and ease of his predecessor.
As the Nutcracker Prince, Tom Mossbrucker declined to form emotional bonds with either Clara or the Sugar Plum Fairy, but provided a generalized conviviality to each--party manners--and danced with elegance and precision.