Aesthetically Speaking

Review: ORDWAY – The Hip Hop Nutcracker

by Taylor Martin

On November 24th and 25th, the Ordway presented the The Hip Hop Nutcracker. This talent-filled and attention drawing performance was a unique twist on the world-famous Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker. The twist to this Nutcracker performance was that while telling the same tale, even set to the same original musical arrangements of famous Russian composer Tchaikovsky, the show would be presented in the hip-hop style of dance, rather than in ballet as it is traditionally done.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker sold out quickly; I have never seen the auditorium so packed! From families with young children, groups of teenage girls, to elderly couples, it was obvious that the Twin Cities were excited about this show. The show began with a host welcoming and entertaining the crowd with his personal arrangements of the first hip-hop songs that were ever written. Immediately he had the attention of the older generation as he encouraged them to stand up to clap and sing along with songs he knew they had sung in their younger years, songs such as “Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer and “Jump Around” by House of Pain. The host called his arrangements of these songs “old-school hip-hop.” With a live DJ in the front corner of the stage and everyone standing and people jumping to the lyrics of these old hip-hop songs, the audience was ready for a unique twist given to a classic production.

As the show began, I was pleased to see that even though the dancing was changed from ballet to hip-hop, the show tried to stay as true to its roots as possible. There were the same characters and the same story line; however, they threw a modern twist to it as it was set in the streets of a big city, rather than in a living room of a home, such as in the original ballet. The delight of seeing the storyline of the original Nutcracker that we all know and love, combined with the creative and modern-day twist made for a very entertaining and appreciative show.

Clara wore a long white T-shirt rather than a flowing night gown, Drosselmeyer was easily identifiable because of his mysterious presence and classic black and long attire, the battle scene was filled with crumping and spinning rather than stiff-moving soldiers with guns, yet there were some mice crawling on the floor.

Having been in the The Nutcracker several times myself, I found it enjoyable seeing the differences and similarities on this new show. I even found that some of the dance moves, even though they were in hip-hop, had a very strong resemblance to the original choreography, which I appreciated and loved how they incorporated the history of this show, rather than straying from it.

This new presentation of The Nutcracker presented the same classical story and characters with a new culture, time, and style that many found fun and refreshing. And of course, the talent of the dancers was unbelievable and extremely entertaini

December 16, 2015
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