December 14, 2011
Reviewed by Paula Citron
National Ballet of Canada
Choreography by James Kudelka
Performed by Steven McRae, Greta Hodgkinson, Robert Stephen, Michael Rinderle and Houston Toews
Dec. 10, 2011 to Jan. 3, 2012
The übertalented, Australian-born Steven McRae is a principal dancer with London’s Royal Ballet. McRae made a sensational debut in James Kudelka’s The Nutcracker with the National Ballet of Canada on Sunday, in the dual role of Peter, the Stable Boy/Nutcracker Prince. Audiences might remember McRae as the techno-wizard, tap dancing Mad Hatter in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
McRae’s charismatic stage presence is replete with elegant extensions, beautiful alignment, feather-light execution and consummate musicality. Every dance phrase is finished neatly and precisely, before he engages the next choreographic pattern.
McRae radiated warmth in his relationship with Misha and Marie (Michael Rinderle and Houston Toews), and Nurse Baba (Alejandra Perez-Gomez). He was an excellent partner for the always faultless Greta Hodgkinson as his Sugar Plum Fairy. Kudos to Robert Stephen who transformed Uncle Nikolai into a whirling dervish.
Steven McRae repeats the role of Peter on Dec. 15. The National Ballet’s The Nutcracker continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Jan. 3.