This is one for the home library. There’s nothing quite like seeing this particular Nutcracker performance–after all–it’s Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland, along with ABT members, dancing one of the most famous ballets of all time. The Blu-ray quality and remastering make it a much better viewing than it would be otherwise, given the fact that this was way back in the late 70’s.
Sets are a bit dated and the film quality isn’t perfect, but this is a real treasure anyway. The choreography is lovely and the dancing sublime. I had seen this version when it first came on TV and remember thinking how absolutely delicate Kirkland was as the Sugar Plum, and Barishnikov is always impressive.
I hadn’t seen this version since then, and it was really interesting to see how much choreography has changed over the years. The execution here is clean and sure, and while the lifts and solos may not be as technically complex as most modern-day versions, it’s still a joy to watch.