Top 3 Contemporary Performers of the Nutcracker Part

Top 3 Contemporary Performers of the Nutcracker Part

In any classical ballet, it is the performers of the main roles that make a difference. True ballet-lovers will always prefer a dancer who is better in performing cabriole and grand jete en tournant, as well as other important elements of classical exercise. Anastasia Isaeva talks about three contemporary performers of the Nutcracker role and outlines the criteria to pay attention to.

Denis Rodkin

The principal dancer of the Bolshoi Theater plays princes in classical performances quite often. Being an apprentice of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, at the beginning of his career, Denis Rodkin absorbed the best traditions of the Bolshoi Theater: expressive gestures, range of motion, technicality and, of course, individuality.

On the one hand, the Prince variation seems pretty straightforward because it lasts less than a minute. But it is packed with complex elements, delivered one after another, which makes it difficult for the performer. 

Denis Rodkin has a superb ballon that he demonstrates to us immediately in a series of the first diagonal grand jetes. At the same time, he approaches a big jump like a grand jete with a brise - such a combination of big and small jumps makes the dance look light for the viewer. 

These are followed by double tours in the air; it is important not only to perform them according to the classical ballet canon, but also to finish the element in the fifth position. Rodkin does this part of the variation beautifully, adorning it with clear aplomb in the arabesque. And, certainly, the last part of the variation gets more intense thanks to the pirouettes, which look especially impressive when performed on one spot. 

The final part of the variation is not quite conventional as it includes a female element - fouetté; as a rule, it is not used in men's dance. The Prince by Denis Rodkin copes with all the pas so daringly that the dance looks like one continuous line, as it should be. 

Kimin Kim

The principal dancer of the Mariinsky Theater is one of the brightest artists of the modern generation. Kimin Kim studied in Korea, but with Russian teachers. Thanks to this, you can see the Russian ballet school standards in all his parts. 

Kimin Kim is gifted with incredible ease of execution. Even such difficult elements as saut de basque, jete entrelace e entrechat, he always performs so gracefully that it seems that the law of gravity isn’t there for him. 

The Nutcracker Prince variation by Kimin Kim is more technically complex, which is a rare case - usually dancers don’t change the choreography to make the elements more complicated. Kimin Kim takes a different path: in the first part of the variation, he performs two double tours in a row, which in classical ballet is believed to be extremely difficult. The dancer usually gets a round of applause already after the first complicated part. 

In the second part of the variation, he shows an exemplary passe position during air tours, while his arms follow all the rules of the port de bras performance. This pas combination looks not only masterly, but also elegant. The last part of the variation — cabriole — works for Kim especially well: he performs them while moving forward and maintaining the arabesque position in the arms and body, the feet in the air are precisely in the fifth position. 

The Prince by Kimin Kim has all the required characteristics: technicality, aplomb, incredible ballon and bright personality. 

Ivan Zaytsev

The principal dancer of the Mikhailovsky Theater and one of the prominent St. Petersburg artists worked with the Boris Eifman Theater for several years, danced modern choreography — this experience has given his dance a special plastique. 

The Prince by Ivan Zaytsev is technically flawless. All the elements, from the first arabesque and renversé en attitude to the final grand pirouette, are performed in accordance with the dance laws. 

It should be mentioned here that the Mikhailovsky Theater gives The Nutcracker in the version by Nacho Duato, an outstanding choreographer of our time. This impacts the dancers too: they are required to move smoothly, but with a great amplitude at the same time. 

Ivan Zaytsev manages to fulfill all the requirements: his assemblées performed from side to side, unexpectedly replaced by a brisk fermé and immediately turning into an attitude, look like one continuous movement, creating real dance magic.