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NYCB Vol. 5 No. 37 - Nutcracker

[37/50] Akim Volynsky, Russian dance critic, wrote, “I must mention the great success by a still quite young [he was 18] and unusually musical artist. . . [Balanchivadze] . . . is full of wild intensity. He waves the hoop and tosses it under his feet. Then he encircles himself with it and rushes downward like a hurricane, energetic and superbly disciplined talent ” (1922).

—From the George Balanchine Foundation website

“Danilova, among others, remembers that Balanchivadze’s most sensational number was the Buffoon’s dance in the Nutcracker (called Candy Cane in America), in which he jumped through a hoop. […] According to Danilova, his Candy Cane variation always brought down the house. “His distinguishing features… were speed, musicality, a big jump, and a sharp attack.”

—Richard Buckle in George Balanchine: Ballet Master (affiliate link)


One of my favorite Nutcracker articles I’ve ever read is “Ghosts of ‘Nutcracker’ Past, Preserved on Film” in the Times written by Marina Harss. In it she discusses Alexander Shiryaev’s important contributions to dance preservation and the inception of animation. If I could, I’d quote the entire thing here, but I HIGHLY recommend you go search for it and read it!

Videos: Animation made from Shiryaev’s 2,000 draws completed sometime between 1900-1907 of the original Trepak (Candy Cane) choreography.

Daniel Ulbricht as Candy Cane in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (slowed down to match the speed of the animation)

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