BWW Review: BROOKLYN BALLET Celebrates The Holidays Like No Other In The Brooklyn Nutcracker
December 7, 2016 kicked off the premiere of Brooklyn Ballet's The Brooklyn Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Museum. In this re-imagined holiday classic, the Brooklyn Ballet fuses ballet and hip hop along with an array of world dance genres to create a new tradition for today's audiences. In this celebration, The Brooklyn Nutcracker, also integrates ground-breaking technology of lights, motion-responsive costumes, and a digital set, inviting audiences of all ages to this "Brooklyn-ized holiday" program.
Starting from the point of view of old Dutch Brooklyn, all gather for a holiday party for Clara and her friends. Clara's mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer is portrayed by a hip-hop pop and locker who presents all the guests with gifts. I enjoyed the Mechanical Doll Dance section. The motion-sensored lights on the popper's shirt and ballerina's tutu illuminated as they moved was very cool. The snow section was probably my favorite! First of all, the dancers move with such grace and elegance. The snowflakes lit up the stage with their LED wired tutus and glow in the dark hair pieces. The Pas de Deux was just stunning. The use of projection with moving snowflakes in the background all performed to Tchaikovsky's score made the scene irresistible.
As we begin to shift into Brooklyn today, the second half started with the sensations of Nakota LaRance- a 6-time World Hoop Dance Champion. LaRance is from the OhKay Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico and dazzled the audience with an incredible mix of traditional hoop and hip hop dance. Next, we moved into the subway station with a group of talented hip hop dancers. They were so smooth! In the next section, there was a fusion of West African dance and ballet performed at the same time. Both groups did the same choreography with the essence of their respective styles. Next, a belly dancer came out with her fluid movements as she danced with fans that had long beautiful fabric attached to them. I enjoyed seeing the contrast of arm movement aesthetics from the belly dancer when she was joined by the hip hop pop and lock dancer. For the Candy Cane section, they performed rhythmic gymnastics with hula hoops. It was interesting when LaRance joined in and both did tricks with their hoops. I absolutely loved the Sugar Plum Fairy Grand Pas. It was just breathtaking.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed it. You could tell by the loud cheers at the end of each scene. At the end of the show, everyone rose to their feet for a standing ovation!
What a fantastic show! I truly appreciated the array of cultural traditions and diversity throughout the evening. The Brooklyn Nutcracker was made possible through a collaborative effort with dancers from the Brooklyn Ballet, African-based modern dancers, Middle Eastern belly-dancers, Brooklyn's top pop, lock, and gliding dancers, students from the Brooklyn Ballet school, and special guests Michael "Big Mike" Fields, and Ingrid Silva and Dylan Santos of Dance Theatre of Harlem. It is a nice mix with something for everyone- those looking for the traditions of the Nutcracker and those looking for an innovative view of the classic story. I loved it!
I applaud the company for producing such a wonderful show. In light of recent events where our differences seem to divide us, it is important to celebrate the diversity that makes us strong. It is so timely that although this has been a work in progress since 2010, the full production has its premiere now in 2016. Thank you for bringing us all together for a great performance.
The Brooklyn Ballet was founded in 2002 by Artistic Director Lynn Parkerson with a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural approach to ballet through a collaborative effort with dancers, musicians, writers, designers, and visual artists. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to ballet, helps to extend the art form in unique directions such as dancing in non-traditional performance spaces, to incorporating improvisation, to unorthodox musical scores. Parkerson's aesthetic includes various dance styles and cultures, and uses the concept of "bridging" divides through performances, education, and community programs.