Apart from the nifty red dragon that snakes through Chinese, the second-act divertissements — which include a magic lamp in Arabian and three ribbon-twirling burlesque girls as Shepherdesses — are as empty as the replica of the Palace of Horticulture in which they're set. And there's nothing in San Francisco to compare with Boston Ballet's Grandmother having a "senior moment" during the Polonaise, or the four mice's parody of Swan Lake's "Dance of the Cygnets," or Jared Redick's one-to-each-compass-point turning quartet of split jumps in Russian, or the difficulty of the straight-line choreography for Sugar Plum at the end of the Grand Pas de Deux. Even the Boston children do harder stuff. It makes you wonder why Boston Ballet's Nutcracker isn't part of Great Performances. Is there a corporate sponsor in the house?
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