New York City is no stranger to the unusual and innovative and ‘The ‘Hip-Hop Nutcraker,’ is both.
In case you haven’t guessed it’s where Tchaikovsky meets urban street dance created by Mike Fitelson and Jennifer Weber.
Jennifer Weber choreographed the show: “The Nutcracker is such an iconic dance show. It’s like the most famous ballet and I’m really interested in translating classic text into the language of hip-hop. The other thing that ballet dancers and hip-hop dancers have in common is that we’re very narrative, we’re very character based. So we’re really creating a hip-hop narrative with our vocabularies. Of course the main difference between ballet and hip-hop is ballet is very up and hip-hop is very down into the floor.”
Eleven dances take on the challenge, Derek Matterson is one of them: “It’s a little difficult, but you just pick it up, you’re a dancer.”
Another troupe member, Fransico Rodriguez, found it a different dance experience:“It’s challenging, because it’s different. You come from like a, a bouncy beat and you’re always grooving, to (sings). And it’s like so sharp, and it’s like, OK , I’ve got to switch it up real quick but still have that same mentality for hip-hop.”
Rapper Kurtis Blow is in the mix; as a veteran of hip-hop for over three decades, Blow is thrilled to see the two art forms merging: “When you talk about the fusion between classical music and hip-hop – I’ve always had this love of just the idea of it. And to see it come to fruition right here with the hip-hop Nutcracker is just, music to my ears.”
The show premiered at New York’s United Palace on November 20, before taking to the road on a 12-city tour taking in Miami, Atlanta and Moscow.