THE HIP HOP NUTCRACKER, A NEW TWIST ON A HOLIDAY CLASSIC
In a tour produced by NJPAC, last season’s Yuletide success is back to delight audiences across the U.S. and Russia with its high-energy, modern-day reimagining of a beloved ballet
Tickets, $29-$79, are available now at NJPAC.org or 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722)
NEWARK, NJ – A holiday mash-up for the entire family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, a contemporary work set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, embarks on an international tour on the strength of last December’s sold-out performances of the world premiere at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) in New York City.
The inaugural tour, produced by NJPAC, spans 11 American cities starting in November – Atlanta, Miami, St. Paul, Minn. and Charlotte, N.C., among them – before concluding with a three-city tour of Russia, including Moscow, from Jan. 12-17, 2016.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of the all-female hip-hop crew Decadancetheatre in Brooklyn. It is adapted to today’s New York by Mike Fitelson, executive director of UPCA – the work’s original producer – and includes hip-hop interludes remixed and reimagined by DJ Boo and violinist Filip Pogády.
For its stop at NJPAC in Newark on Saturday, Dec. 19, The Hip Hop Nutcracker features special guest MC Kurtis Blow, one of the founders and creators of recorded rap music.
“Last year, the world premiere of Jennifer Weber and Mike Fitelson’s The Hip-Hop Nutcracker was a unique holiday event that attracted hip-hop fans, families, and classical music and dance audiences – so many different people in our community – under one roof. This Nutcracker’s dance crew, along with rap legend Kurtis Blow, simply electrified our building,” said David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer. “We can’t wait to bring this new classic to audiences across the country and wrap up the tour in Tchaikovsky’s homeland.”
The Hip Hop Nutcracker is an evening-length production performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ and violinist. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her prince, Myron, travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of a palace of sugarplums into a romance set in 1980s Brooklyn. The dance work celebrates love, community and the magic of New Year’s Eve.
Virgil Gadson and Megan “Megz” Alfonso, dancers from last year’s cast of The Hip Hop Nutcracker, are currently competing as top finalists in So You Think You Can Dance, the hit series on Fox television.
Other members of the creative team include Andrew Diaz (set), Whitney Adams (costumes), Burke Wilmore (lighting) and Moe Shahrooz (video design).
The following is an itinerary of The Hip Hop Nutcracker tour:
19-21: United Palace of Cultural Arts, New York City
24-25: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul, Minn.
28: Fox Theatre, Atlanta
29: Ritz Theatre, Jacksonville, Fla.
2: Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News, Va.
3: Strathmore, North Bethesda, Md.
5-6: Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami
17: North Charleston Performing Arts Center, North Charleston, S.C.
19: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, N.J.
21: Proctors, Schenectady, N.Y.
29-Jan. 3: Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte, N.C.
12-13: Regional Drama Theatre, Kaliningrad, Russia
15-16: Moscow Stanislavsky Theater, Moscow, Russia
17: Concert Hall, Voronezh, Russia
The Hip Hop Nutcracker takes place in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets, from $29-$79, are available now at NJPAC.org or 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722).
About Kurtis Blow
A hip-hop legend, Kurtis Blow was 20 in 1979, when he became the first rapper to be signed by a major label. Mercury released “Christmas Rappin’,” and it sold more than 400,000 copies, becoming an annual classic. Its gold follow-up, The Breaks, helped ignite an international “Rap Attack.” He released 10 albums in over 11 years: his full-length debut, Kurtis Blow; his second, Deuce, a Top 50 Pop album and a big hit across Europe; Party Time featuring a pioneering fusion of rap and gogo; and Ego Trip, including the hits “8 Million Stories,” “AJ” and “Basketball.” In 1985 he released America, featuring “If I Ruled the World,” a Top 5 hit on Billboard’s R&B chart; Columbia/Sony recording artist Nas debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Album chart with a cover of the song in 1997. For more information, visit KurtisBlow.com.
Decadancetheatre, a 2012 nominee for a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie Award), has been redefining the image of women in hip-hop since 2004. Decadancetheatre has become a key ambassador of authentic, New York City hip-hop culture around the world through performances, workshops and creative commissions. Led by Artistic Director Jennifer Weber, the company represents a global vision of hip-hop with an international roster of dancers from the U.S., France, Germany, Norway, Nigeria and Japan. Challenging hip-hop’s male-dominated convention, Decadancetheatre takes female dancers out of the background of music videos and into the forefront of theatrical performance.
Decadancetheatre has toured across the U.S., U.K. and France, including performing at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, B Supreme Festival of Women in Hip Hop at London’s Southbank Center, LEAP Festival in Liverpool, New York City Center, the Apollo Theater, San Francisco Hip-Hop Dance Festival, and Bumbershoot in Seattle, where the company shared the bill with Wu-Tang Clan, John Legend and Fergie.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 9 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.