Cool Yule Video: Nutcracker Ballet Pas de Deux (Videos)

Here are not one but two choreographed versions of the final pas de deux in the Nutcracker, which is one of my favorite dances.  There are many variations.

The first video (1968) portrays a classic version featuring the phenomenal Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and London’s Royal Ballet prima ballerina, the very great Merle Park.  Her performance in The Nutcracker earned her international acclaim and assured her a place among history’s greatest ballerinas.

What I appreciate about this flawless performance, in addition to its beauty and heart-stopping jetes (at 3:08), is the athleticism and laser precision of the dancers.  Also Nureyev is a true participant in this pas de deux and not only a supporting role as you may see in some other versions, which is only appropriate, given his stature as one of the best dancers of all time.   If you can watch it without crying, you are a stronger person than me.

The second video (1977) is Mikhail Baryshnikov’s version for American Ballet Theatre in which he performs with Gelsey Kirkland.  It created a sensation when it was presented at the Kennedy Center in 1977.  This highly artistic and deeply psychological interpretation adds all kinds of novel elements.  For one, he puts Clara in the Pas de Deux, whereas in other versions she is merely a spectator of this dance.  Then he also adds Herr Drosselmeyer into the dance, which adds all kinds of layers of meaning and a novel dimension, really creating a pas de trois!

With its fluid choreography and drama, and the wispy costume and flowing coiffure of the delicate Ms. Kirkland, the intensely emotional, dream-like performance is full of mystery and beauty, conjuring up all kinds of musings about love, coming of age, strength and vulnerability, and even desire and sensuality.  (The pas de deux begins at 3:43 in this video.)

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Gerald Casenave Says:

    Thank you. That was magnificent.


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