Brooklyn Ballet marks its 20th anniversary season with a return to the Kings Theatre
Brooklyn Ballet, a unique and interdisciplinary dance company that confronts convention and defies expectation, presents two performances of The Brooklyn Nutcracker, at the majestic Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn, on Saturday, December 17, 2022. 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, the production’s creator and Brooklyn Ballet’s artistic director Lynn Parkerson injects beloved and reimagined characters throughout the family favorite production. From a mysterious pop and locking Uncle Drosselmeyer and a daring hip hop battle scene, to a bohemian Mother Ginger, audiences are taken on a journey to the Sugar Plum Fairy’s iconic Land of the Sweets through notable Brooklyn landmarks with a stop on the way to the Flatbush Avenue subway platform. For the Nutcracker traditionalist, a Victorian-style holiday party sets the opening scene, while the majestic flurry of the Snow Scene, Waltz of the Flowers, and Grande Pas remain true to Petipa’s and Ivanov’s vision as interpreted by Parkerson and her collaborators.
New to this year’s production, Parkerson invites Serhiy Tsyganok and Arsentii Oskin from Ukrainian Dancers USA to perform a traditional Ukrainian dance, the Hopak, as part of the enchanting collection of cultural divertissements in the second act. A dance dating back to the 16th century marked by Ukraine’s ongoing struggle for independence, the Hopak is characterized by virtuosic jumps and acrobatics and was traditionally performed by soldiers upon their victorious homecoming from the battlefields.
Additionally, guest artists Amanda Smith and Dylan Santos from Dance Theatre of Harlem will dance the dazzling Grand Pas, while Aliesha Bryan, the first-place winner of Flamenco Certamen 2016, will reprise her role in Spanish Hot Chocolate. The Eva Dance Studio will perform a culturally specific representation of the often-controversial Chinese Tea, and authentic Middle Eastern belly dancer Sira Melikian will dance the sultry Arabian Coffee. The production also welcomes back Native American Hoop Dancer ShanDien LaRance, who spent nearly a decade under the big top of Cirque Du Soleil’s TOTEM. ShanDien 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.
“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 powerful hip-hop dancer,” explains Parkerson. “To see this dance inspire a full production that has continued to expand since our 2016 premiere, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holiday season and redefine a work in the classical ballet repertoire in an important way,” she continues. “For this anniversary year and beyond we continue to celebrate our beloved borough and are proud to honor a lifetime mission of cultural diversity and inclusivity on our stages, in our studios, and in our audiences.
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 by artist Avram Finkelstein 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 yet yearning for tradition and human connection.
The Brooklyn Nutcracker takes place on Saturday, December 17 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be a community performance held for public schools and senior centers on Thursday, December 15 at 11:30 a.m. Ticket prices start at $30 and are available here