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NYCB Vol. 9 No. 4 & 5 - Nutcracker

(4/50) You may (or may not) know that Janet Reed danced lead Marzipan in 1954 when Balanchine's Nutcracker premiered...but she wasn't the dancer originally cast to dance it! Find out more below...

Janet Reed in Marzipan. Photo by Radford Bascome, 1954.


(5/50) Patricia Wilde was cast by Balanchine to be the original lead in the Marzipan/Sherperdess/Merliton divertissement. The roles were given out on the day that Pat had gotten married to her husband. Balanchine called Pat in to learn her role on her wedding night from 7-9pm. He choreographed many difficult steps for her included tours en l’air starting and landing en pointe, as well as entrechat seises from pointe to pointe. Finally when her rehearsal ended at 10pm the solo was completed. When the opening of Nutcracker came around, Pat came down with mono and couldn’t dance in the opening. Janet Reed thus became the originator of the role, and the version of the choreography that we see today, was choreographed for Janet, and is entirely different that what Balanchine had made for Pat originally.

Patricia Wilde as Marzipan. Photos by Fred Fehl cir. 1954-59

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