Brooklyn Ballet, a unique and interdisciplinary dance company rooted in the classical idiom, presents two performances of The Brooklyn Nutcracker, at the majestic Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn, on December 11. The first of its kind, this critically acclaimed production fuses ballet, hip hop and an array of world dance genres to create a culturally inclusive production that highlights dances and artists from around the world and artists and students from Brooklyn Ballet.
With a strong commitment to honor and authentically represent the vibrant and multi-cultural history of Brooklyn, this re-imagined holiday classic employs the talents of dancers from all disciplines and corners of the globe. A celebrated favorite for local families since 2016, this year’s production expands to complete the entire Tchaikovsky score, adding a daring and dramatic hip hop battle scene and Mother Ginger character fresh from the streets of Brooklyn with bohemian flair. The first-place winner of Flamenco Certamen 2016, Aliesha Bryan, will reprise her role in Spanish Hot Chocolate; the Red Dance Studio Chinese Dancers in Chinese Tea; as well as authentic Middle Eastern belly dancer Sira Melikian in Arabian Coffee. Additionally, this year, the production welcomes Native American Hoop Dancer ShanDien LaRance, who spent nearly a decade under the big top of Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM. LaRance joins the cast following the untimely death of her brother, Nakotah LaRance, who originated a unique role in the production since its inception, fusing together hip hop and hoop dance in his signature style.
Choreographer and Brooklyn Ballet Artistic Director Lynn Parkerson injects an unmistakable seasoning of Brooklyn culture by casting hip hop pop and locker Michael “Big Mike” Fields as the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer among a baroque dance scene, contrasting a line of Mirlitons dancing among African-based modern dancers, and showing off Brooklyn’s top pop and lock, gliding and flex’n dancers as they transport audiences to the Land of the Sweets by way of a gritty and iconic subway platform. For the Nutcracker traditionalist, a Victorian-style holiday party for Clara and friends set the opening scene while the majestic flurry of the Snow Scene, Waltz of the Flowers and Grande Pas remain true to Petipa and Ivanov’s vision as interpreted by Parkerson and her collaborators.
“The production of The Brooklyn Nutcracker got its humble beginnings on a Brooklyn street corner with a dance collaboration between a petite ballerina and a large hip-hop dancer,” explains Parkerson. “We’ve welcomed audiences into venues of all sizes since then, and even brought a little holiday spirit to Schermerhorn Street last holiday season with a free, safe and abridged production in our Jewelbox window space while all of the theaters of New York were dark due to COVID. Through it all, we continue to celebrate our beloved borough and are proud to honor a lifetime mission of cultural diversity and inclusivity, bringing dance audiences into the 21st century and beyond.”
Also unique to The Brooklyn Nutcracker are collaborations with tech-based artists and designers providing audiences with a multi-sensory experience. From exploring ground-breaking technology of light and motion-responsive costumes throughout multiple scenes and a digital set that transports the plot from historical old Dutch Brooklyn to the iconic Flatbush Avenue, the production is primed for today’s audience in a climate centered in technology and innovation.
Brooklyn Ballet will present The Brooklyn Nutcracker on Saturday, December 11, at 2pm and 7pm, at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. For tickets, visit www.brooklynballet.org/performances/brooklyn-nutcracker.