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I love the nutcracker, it is un abashed corny pastel pink fun. I’ve danced it plenty of times myself and I still think the grand pas de deux music is just sublime.
Having lived in crappy $ruralTown for the last few years with no semblance of theatre to see I gorged myself when recently in London and Italy
I saw 2 nutcrackers, one by the English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet and here follows my thoughts on these productions.
English National Ballet;s version is choreographed by  Wayne Eagling who has fiddled considerably with the story and the choreography. I’m not sure if its his choreography or the fact that the company was under-rehearsed but the group work was scrappy, particularly noticeable in the snow scene. For Principals we had Alina Cojucaru and Vadim who were both individually beautiful. Alina, as always, was stunning, all goodness and light as the sugar plum fairy, and Vadim’s solo showed off his lush technique. However it looked like they hadn’t rehearsed together enough as he dropped her twice, and he apparently forgot the finale.
The chinese dance had a welcome update – in contrast to the Royal Ballets which I will savage shortly, becoming a bit crouching tiger and hidden dragon but a welcome change from the bumbling chinamen of the Royal Ballet. There is a confusing bit pre-snow scene, danced by the lovely Alison McWhinney which was beautifully danced though i’m a little confused as to who the heck ‘Louise’ is and what she has to do with the story. I should have bought the program…. The Arabian dance though was very strange. A slave is introduced, with some terrible homo-erotic pseudo bondage choreography who is then freed by Clara. All in all bizzare and I feel completely out of place for a nutcracker.
The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker is by Peter Wright and on the whole I quite like how the did the story – Drosselmeyer’s Nephew is cursed into a Nutcracker doll by the Mouse King after Dross invents a mousetrap that decimates the mousey population.  This spell can only be broken by the love of a young girl. Dross is invited to a Christmas party and knowing Clara will be there, thinks this is the chance for his nephew. She loves the nutcracker , they beat the  mouse king and Dross is so happy he uses all his magic to reward Clara for his magic by conjuring up the land of sweets and all the various divertisments in Act II. Ballet isn’t narrative gold, but this seemed to be as good a story for nutcracker as I’ve seen.  It gives Clara and the nephew a chance to dance with the divertisments which is better than the usually passive role they have in Act II. The national dances were fine, except the Chinese dance which is unforgiveabluy racist. National Dances are, by and large, a caricature of folk dances – but all of them, other than the chinese is treated with respect, its over the top but they are taken seriously. The chinese dance has them in the long pony tails with their fingers extended with much head bobbing and buffoonery. WHen Clara joins in, it is in a gross parody of the gross parody and the whole effect is mean spirited. THe poor chinese aren’t even allowed dignity in the curtain call, with them playing the fool even then. It needs to be changed and frankly i’m surprised that is allowed to continue to exist in its current form.
The principals were Nunez and Soares. They partnered well together, and Nunez was a regal sugar plum fairy. Soares however was a disappointment, his solo was underpowered and flabby with floppy entrechat sixes and a completely puny mange of assemble tours in the middle. To finish an off balance pirouette. Terrible, I would, and have seem better from junior competitions.
He also had absolutely no idea of the finale and muffed it totally, going in the wrong direction at one point.

After ordering a mushroom soup to go

excuse me, could I have a spoon please?

oh i’m so sorry, we’re all out of spoons. I have given you 2 knives though….

brits are weird.

At a met call
Ok oxygen turn it up full via hudson. What’s her sats. Can we get an ECG… 
Oh hey. Are you plastics? 
Urr yeah.. Have we got a line in? 
Mrs blah wants to discharge with some endone. 
Um not a good time.. Blood pressure? 
Oh yeah. Sure. 
Have we got an old ecg, take usual blood and a gas. 
Is just that she wants to go and you haven’t written her up…

Its been a long time. I started a new job this year as the plastics and dermatology registrar at #ruralhospital and they certainly got their pound of flesh with essentially constant on call.
Excitingly I have a holiday coming up and I hope to get back into this blogging thing and maybe a creepy po-um or two.

recently there has been an internet meme ’10 reasons I love dancers’ which, while I have a great many things better to do, pissed me right off. It reminded me of a reason why I left dance. Its the insane narcissism and the complete lack of perspective that many dancers have. Having been a professional dancer and have more or less successfully transitioned into a ‘real job’ I think i’m well qualified to call bullshit. Also I posted this comment and it was censored so I’m extra pissed.
Being a professional dancer is an incredible stroke of luck and a wonderfully privileged position.It is a lot of work but everything good is. There are a lot harder lives out there.
Professional dancers are a privileged bunch > they are genetically gifted, lucky enough to be born into a family which has the resources to provide the outrageously expensive training needed to become a professional dancer and then do a job they love which is not a critical service. Not to downgrade its importance, but lets face it, if you have a crap performance its unlikely anyone will die/the public suffer unduly. I suppose if you have a spectacularly off day you could fouette into the orchestra pit can cause some carnage… But the chance to do something like dance FOR A LIVING is just preposterous.

Arch bars are painful.

Arch Bars

They’re often used in maxillofacial surgery to fix busted up mandibles (of which we see an awful lot of)
They are not comfortable with sharp metally bits sticking into gums.

A patient of ours was recently rediscovered from the wild, as it were, with arch bars half on. 8 years after having them placed and subsequently lost to follow up.
8 years. More interesting is that he had come into hospital on several occasions and no-one had noticed them

More unrelated photos

Libibing Village, Lesotho

Sunrise over Kibo Crater, Killimanjaro

We were having a tute on management of chronic renal disease, and the boss said that vit D stimulated the excretion of phosphate
Oh how we laughed
(it increases absorption – in fact hyperphosphatemia is the limitation on using calcitriol in trying to correct high PTH)

i need new friends

Camping under the Stars