Alternative Nutcracker Roundup

’Tis the season…for Nutcrackers! The ballet is a deservedly beloved classic, but it’s understandable if you’d like to shake it up with something different. There are myriad productions that interpret The Nutcracker through unique perspectives. The World Dances has chosen its five favorites for your consideration. Enjoy!

Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker

In this adaptation, three wise-cracking rats take over the story, whisking audiences off on an adventure through Candy Cane Land, The Indian Rainforest, Bollywood, Egypt, and more! The production adds new music to the score to match the uniquely imagined settings, with lively characters and spectacular dancing.  Also, in the spirit of giving, 100 percent of the show’s proceeds will benefit arts education for youth in the greater Los Angeles area.

Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Redondo Beach, CA, December 7-10. Tickets and more information available here.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

The Hip Hop Nutcracker interprets Tchaikovsky’s classis score through the movement vocabulary of hip hop and breakdancing. Twelve explosive dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist bring the production to robust life in a celebration of community and love. 

Nationwide tour information, video previews, and tickets available here.

Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut

This retro-modern reimagining transplants E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original story from the straight-laced 1890s to the swinging 70s, with raucous parties, dancing G.I. Joes, whimsical costumes, and a Waltz of the Snowflakes like no other. The production is based on the comic book art of Charles Burns and features Tchaikovsky’s complete original score in a unique retelling full of excitement and loving tribute to the original.

Presented by Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall, Berkley, CA through December 24. More information and tickets available here.

ContempraDANCE Theatre Company’s Philly Nut Crak Up

This interpretation is based on a rap song written by the Sugarplum Fairy (didn’t see that coming, did you?).  Audiences accompany her on dance battles with hip hop rats. You then continue with the suite/sweets leader to Prussia and favorite Philadelphia locales to witness superheroes, kung-fu, dance offs, and much more with hip hop, jazz, modern, and classical dancing.

Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA, December 15 -17. Tickets and more information available here.

The Bang Group’s Nut/Cracked

This Nutcracker intersperses the original score with music by Duke Ellingto, Glen Miller, and other modern composers to set the stage for a more percussive dance experience.  The show features surprising blends of tap, singing, and unusual pointe work in an ode to America’s diverse cultural history.

The Dance Hall in Kittery, ME December 8-9, 14-16, 20-23. More information and tickets available here