The Hip Hop Nutcracker
By Chaz Strickland
The Hip-Hop Nutcracker was unlike anything I have ever seen before. The show started with a bang as our emcee, Kurtis Blow, took to the stage and amped up the crowd. I loved it, it really felt like I was at a party with all of the other people in the theater. After Kurtis left the stage, a violinist came on and played the overture to the classical Nutcracker. This combination of classical and reimagined that I saw within the first five minutes continued throughout the entire performance. The classical party scene was replaced with a more raucous outdoor dance party, with Uncle Drosselmeyer presented as a mischievous toymaker. The party scene came to a close and the music for Arabian was included in the first act and not the second.This was one of the few changes that they made to the classical Tchaikovsky score.
During Arabian, we see Clara’s mother and father going through a hard time in their marriage. This added plot line made the second act more plot filled and added some gravity to the first act as a whole. The Battle Scene was probably the most enjoyable of all the dances. It included a band of mice that were in hoodies and ears that did some crazy dance moves and had some funny moments. This fun and frivolity during the battle scene balanced out the sadness we had just seen. The second act started after the battle scene and Clara and the Nutcracker went back in time to when Clara’s parents first met and helped them find love again.
I loved this performance and the balance it found, whether it was between classical and modern or frivolous and somber. The added plot line made the whole storyline more intense than the original kind of weak plot structure that is found in most classical ballets. I hope that my ambassadorship will allow me to see more shows like this that push the boundary and expand the horizons of what dance can be.