Comprised of dazzling lights, vibrant colors, eccentric costumes and intricate dance skills, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” proves to be a wonderful and unique remake of a timeless classic.
Produced by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the production came to the Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Dec. 16, combining Tchaikovsky’s timeless classic with hip-hop flavor and bounce.
“People love our production,” said Jennifer Weber, director and choreographer. “This is a newly invigorated, youthful production that brings excitement to anyone that sees it, because hip-hop is the bridge that brings everyone together. It’s a cultural classic language.”
Taking place in the wintry streets of New York city, beside a bench, a streetlight, a bar and growing Christmas trees, viewers aren’t quite sure what to expect from the youth on stage, hanging around some snow.
Just then, the audience is presented with ball caps and black leather-accentuated ball gowns, as Drosselmeyer (Shestreet), an infectious toymaker, shows the street kids her dancing dolls that lead into an intricate hip-hop dance number.
Filled with brilliance and panache, the scene quickly segue into the introduction of the Nutcracker (Josue “Beast” Figueroa), who is seen selling nuts from a pushcart right before he saves Clara (played by Ann-Sylvia Clark) from none other than the Mouse Gang.
As the Nutcracker defeats the mice, they dance through the snow, traveling back into time to New Year’s Eve 1984, where a troupe perform variations of classic Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dances, successfully blending genres and adding some spice to a well-loved classic.