Last Sunday I was at the DCA for a film version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker. The added ingredient this time was that the ballet was filmed in 3D by the Mariinsky Ballet company in St Petersburg, which gave a bit of extra interest to a perennial Christmas favourite. To date I have not been fully convinced of films in 3D, though I have only seen two in this medium prior to last Sunday. Both were good, but I felt the human beings in the film all looked a bit doll like. So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I awaited the Nutcracker. However I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The dancers all looked fully human, even in close-up. And the stage and the choreography took on an extra dimension in 3D. The dancers too were excellent, with Alina Somova as a lovely and enchanting Masha the princess, (as she is known in Russia) and Vladimir Shklyarov as the dashing Nutcracker prince. As this is very much a children’s piece, it was fitting that young dancers were prominent in the production.
A couple of buts, though none relate to 3D as a medium. The first is common to any film of a ballet, which often relies on sweeping dance movements and is thus not too suited to close-ups, which all film directors seem to love. The other but refers to the production itself. This is the 1934 version choreographed by Vassily Vainonen, which was resurrected for the 100th anniversary of The Nutcracker in 1992. While there are some beautiful dances and movements in this version, it is not as gripping as a story as some other versions and thus does not hang together as a whole. Well worth seeing though, and has rekindled my interest in 3D movies.