I couldn’t tell you how many times I have watched Clara and the Nutcracker Prince go on an epic quest of wonderment and magic to defeat the Mouse King. It was a tradition to go every year when I was little, and now my husband and I have carried on the tradition. I have seen the ballet in different cities and with different production companies. I have even seen the Moscow Ballet’s version. But no matter the different choreography and costumes, it’s always the same. Until now. Adapted by Mike Fitelson, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” is an off the hook adaptation of a well-loved holiday tradition. See this incredible transformation at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, November 15, at 7:30 p.m. This is a show the entire family, even the grinchy-teenagers, will love.
“It’s a re-imagining of Tchaikovsky’s score through the language of hip-hop dance,” says Jennifer Weber, director/choreographer for “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” in an interview with JerseyArtsTV. “And we bring it to life with really explosive hip-hop choreography.” Fusing Tchaikovsky’s classic score with a New York City backdrop and incredible, modern dance moves, Weber brings you an evening like no other. This type of musical fusion is not new to her, she has updated other classics with modern dance before, and she is the choreographer for the hit Disney Channel movie, “ZOMBIES 2.” An Emmy award nominated choreographer who knows how to keep the crowd entertained, Weber’s dance moves will have your kids excited about the ballet, maybe for the first time.
Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov said: “Athleticism is one thing and artistry is another, but Jennifer Weber’s Hip Hop Nutcracker puts the two together like I’ve never seen. It’s deeply moving, ingeniously modern and pure magic.”
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” opens with an unforgettable performance by Kurtis “The Breaks” Blow, who in 1979 became the first rapper to be signed by a major label. This music legend takes to the stage for the first time since his heart transplant to wow audiences with a 20-minute rap opening you won’t soon forget. “It’s incredible for me to meet fans, and their kids, and their kids’ kids who love hip hop music,” says Blow. “It reminds me of how The Nutcracker brings people of all ages together too. I hope everyone makes holiday memories for a lifetime when they come to our show.”
If you’ve never seen a re-imagined classic ballet, you are missing out. Whether, like me, you love the classic, or maybe you were never a fan, you owe it to yourself to experience the sizzle, drama and excitement when modern meets tradition. I once watched a modern, gothic version of “The Sleeping Beauty” ballet and while it was almost a decade ago, I will never forget it. “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” is sure to give you a lasting memory your family with cherish forever, and maybe even renew your love for the original ballet as well!
Tickets for “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” are on sale now on the Washington Center for the Performing Arts website. Currently, the Washington Center is requiring all patrons to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours, administered by a lab, in order to be admitted to the show. There is a walk-up testing site located outside the box office across from Captain Little. It’s open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the Curative website to schedule an appointment. The kiosk hours will expand to include weekends and show nights once the rapid tests are available.
If your kids quickly say no when they hear the word, “Nutcracker,” show them this video clip below: it’s enough to get you jammin’ to Tchaikovsky in a way you never thought you would. Then, buy your tickets before they sell out and get ready for an off the hook holiday event you will have to see to believe.