All that nastiness even with Senator Reid ineffectually calling for civility, I must escape to the ballet.

Pennsylvania Ballet had a warm-up run of George Balanchine’s Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center two weeks ago and they are now back at The Academy of Music back in Philadelphia for the duration of the holiday period.

Although the platoon of Snowflakes that begin the real dancing at the end of Act I, looked a bit drifted in moments (it was their fifth dance storm in two days) they are completely glittering in the various Act II ensemble divertissement. While PB’s production may seem old hat by now, but is still full of star power from the children’s roles right up through the ranks of corps, soloists and Balanchine specialists among the principals.

Julie Diana as the Sugarplum Fairy is in command from her serene adagio pointe work with the Angels to her steely piques and thrillingly paced pirouette runs. She is so well partnered with Zachary Hench (as her Cavalier) that they glide through the intricacies of their pas de deux. Hench’s unfussy aerials keep the spotlight on Diana. Her jetes onto his shoulders are a marvel of suspended trajectory.