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Nutcracker On Ice: Biloxi, MS.
The Beau Rivage http://www.beaurivage.com is a wonderful resort in Biloxi,MS. Built just over a year and a half ago at a cost of 630 million $$$. Over 1800 rooms, with a state of the art showroom that seats 1550. First three performances were sold out! I saw two performances; 6:00pm and 9:00pm last Saturday evening. Playing 1st thru 17th December. Ice is 'stage size', about 40ftx60ft. Here is the cast: Starring, Pasha Grishuk, Two-time (and current) Olympic Champion as Clara. Principal, Sergei Tartykov, Champion of Siberia - Vlostok and Uzbekistan as the Nutcracker/Prince. Olga Zhiltsova, Disney on Ice principal skater as Sugar Plum Fairy. Eric Bohnstedt, Disney on Ice skater as Drosslemyer. Sharon Wissel. Pro skater and coach (Clara's understudy) and principal chorus. Ensemble: Andrea Hydokovich, Lara Schwarz, Suzanna Hodges, Taylor Lutzwick, Adam Van Eckhout and Wesley Higginbotham. Choreographer: Yuliana Malkhaissants (Official Tutor to Bolshoi Theatre.) Asst. Choreographers: Pasha Grishuk, Shanna Hayes. Director: Michael Belousov (Founder, Russian Ballet on Ice.) Producer: TPM Productions ======================================= Drosselmyer looks great in his black cape with silver lining, he sets the Nutcracker doll at center stage. Spins and weaves his 'magic' way around the ice. The full ensemble comes out and begins to play together in the snow. Pasha then makes her first appearance dressed in a beautiful blue plaid dress with orange trim and flies around the ice in her first (of three ) solo routines (never seen anyone so fast) spins, spirals, wonderful edges - truly acting the part. Looking very happy. Then there is the Ball, where every skater is on the ice. Men in their tuxedo's, ladies in beautiful gowns, opening Xmas presents. Sleigh is pulled on stage by Drosselmyer. Pasha is skating in between the cast. The 'nasty' (LOL) mice appear and the frightening Mouse King chases Pasha around the stage (she's way too quick for him however, LOL). Very menacing music here. The mice sit very close to the audience, hissing and gesticulating. Sergei as the Nutcracker is great - he truly imitates the way (I imagine ) a wooden toy might walk. Very authentic and brilliant stage play here. (There is a hilarious scene where both Pasha and Drosselmyer think that the Nutcracker is dead - and amidst lots of noisy drum music he gyrates wildly with his hands and arms and Pasha has to rush over and calm him, LOL). The mice attack and mortally wound the Nutcracker. Pasha cries on cue (real tears stream down her face, I saw them - great character acting. Pasha Hollywood actress lessons are paying off). After Pasha kisses the Nutcracker he comes alive, this time as a handsome Prince! Pasha dreams and is entertained by the Sugar Plum Fairy and the ensemble, the Christmas tree grows from about ten to twenty four feet! Waltz of The Flowers, the girls wear beautiful matching gold lame gowns, imitating balletic poses and skate a great end-on-end spiral sequence together. Sharon Wissell performs beautiful layback and many other spins in the center. Wonderful lighting effects. Pasha is now wearing a cute (little girl) white dress with pink belt and matching hairbow. Sitting together with Sergei at the rear of the stage. The chorus appear as follows to entertain Pasha and her Prince: Taylor as a charming Asian Princess, Suzanna and Lara are two circus performers with a rope trick. Eric is a spinning Dervish. Wesley is a fearsome Matador - and Sharon is a tress sexy and sultry Arabian dancer! Pasha and her (charming) Prince now perform the routine which is truly the highlight of the evening. A pas-de-deux or adagio if you prefer. Their 'side by side' spirals and 'romantic' gestures to each other are beautiful (he on one knee, kissing her outstretched hand!) - as is the music. This Prince is NO slouch, he thows in some great spins, a huge death drop into a spin and a triple sal! Pasha is radiant and flies across the ice with her amazing array of moves and fancy footwork - HUGE extension on her spiral! Three different lifts: one where she does a "headbanger" (LOL) move, where she is held by the ankles and turned around in circles with her head inches from the floor!, another where she is 'cradled' in her Prince's arms and leans back and clutches her skate blades. The audience likes that move very much. The routine ends with the Prince lifting Clara 'on high' - holding on to just one of her legs - to great applause. For this routine Pasha is wearing a beautiful silver topped gown with white body and feathers at the bottom. The Prince is decked out in a gold and purple suit, looking very Regal and dashing! Pasha has another solo routine (BTW - Pasha choreographed ALL her solo and their duet by herself.) This time she shows off her amazing dexterity in footwork, literally imitating a prima ballerina on her pointed toes - complete with intricate hand/arm movements, (VERY Swan lake!) twizzles, spins, laybacks, all over the ice! Extremely difficult body moves, worthy of a champion (I have been watching skating for over a decade and have never seen the like.) Throws in two double sal's - for good measure. (What other "ice dancer" jumps? She does so because she can and wants to, I guess.) BTW - she doesn't need any jumps IMO, her beauty, grace, carriage and sheer elegance (poetry in motion) as she performs her routines is breathtaking, you can hear the audience literally sigh as she skates and glides around the stage - and her style is perfectly suited to this type of show. She jumps counter clockwise for those who wish to know. Entertainment and excellence personified. All in all, when you have: exhilarating music by Petr Tchaykovsky, beautiful costumes, colorful backgrounds and props, dynamic sound, wonderful skating by Pasha and cast, the ambience of the Beau Rivage Theatre - it was an experience to never forget. The show lasts approx. 90 minutes with no intermission. The audience love it! I overheard several saying they would go to another performance. (On the 11th and 12th of December the troupe puts on two extra 'special' short performances for the schoolchildren of Biloxi and environs.) To conclude, Pasha was just simply - magnificent! This amazing iceperformer/soloist put in two great double jumps in several of her routines and seems to be able to do almost everything. I hope that the skating biz is now taking notice - long overdue. From their reaction, the public needs to and will see more of her. How 'bout Starskates? or Diva's?? or Improve??? These would have been wonderful showcases for Pasha's talents. Probably next time around. Sergei was incredible as the 'Prince' - a real crowd favorite, and should be in much demand for more shows and performances elsewhere. In fact ALL the cast were marvelous. From the youngest – sweetheart Suzanna, to the others (the sultry Sharon!) they performed wonderfully. There is an interview/photo with Pasha on the SunHerald newspaper website: (At the casinos) http://justgo.realcities.com/biloxi/ The local NBC affiliate WLOX TV13 cameras were present at the dress rehearsal. Pasha was interviewed live on their 4:30pm broadcast on November 30th and will appear on MobileTV also.

    Version Sonntag, 26. August 2001

 

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