Brooklyn Ballet presents The Brooklyn Nutcracker

Brooklyn Ballet presents The Brooklyn Nutcracker

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 16, 2023. With its fusion of ballet, hip-hop, and a rich tapestry of global dance genres, The Brooklyn Nutcracker stands as New York’s only culturally inclusive interpretation of this beloved holiday tradition.

With a strong commitment to honor and authentically portray Brooklyn’s vibrant and multi-cultural history, the production’s creator and Brooklyn Ballet’s artistic director Lynn Parkerson infuses the production with the story’s beloved characters reimagined for the 21st century. From a mysterious pop and locking Herr Drosselmeyer and a daring hip hop battle scene, to a bohemian Mother Ginger, audiences are taken on a journey from Victorian Flatbush to modern day, with detours through notable Brooklyn landmarks, including the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and a visit to the Flatbush Avenue subway platform. For the Nutcracker traditionalist, an olden-day holiday party sets the opening scene, while the majestic flurry of the Snow Scene, Waltz of the Flowers, and Grande Pas pays homage to the original vision of Petipa’s and Ivanov, brilliantly interpreted by Parkerson and her collaborators. 

New to this year’s production, Parkerson invites live musicians to provide a backdrop of traditional instruments to each divertissement, including beatboxer Baba Israel, violinist Zafir Tawil, accordionist Mikhail Smirnoff, and Yimin Miao on the dizi, a Chinese bamboo flute. Act 1 brings a larger-than-life Rat King to life by Krump King Brian Hallowdreamz Henry, while guest artists Ingrid Silva from Dance Theatre of Harlem and her partner, Dylan Santos return as the Sugar Plum and Cavalier after appearing in Brooklyn Ballet’s 2015 inaugural production.

Artists from Ukrainian Dancers USA perform a traditional Ukrainian Hopak and Aliesha Bryan, the first-place winner of Flamenco Certamen 2016, reprises her role in Spanish Hot Chocolate. The Eva Dance Studio performs a culturally specific representation of the often-controversial Chinese Tea, and authentic Middle Eastern belly dancer Sira Melikian dances the sultry Arabian Coffee. The production also welcomes back Michael “Big Mike” Fields as Herr Drosselmeyer and 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. 

“We are thrilled to bring The Brooklyn Nutcracker back to The Kings Theatre, and to once again share this culturally immersive production with the vibrant Flatbush community,” explains Parkerson. “This year’s performance embodies our commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusivity through dance, and it serves as a testament to the rich cultures that define Brooklyn. We believe that art has the power to unite and uplift, and we are honored to offer a production that reflects the unique spirit and heritage of this remarkable neighborhood. We invite everyone to join us for an unforgettable evening of dance that bridges cultures, inspires hearts, and fosters a sense of belonging within our community.”

The Brooklyn Nutcracker distinguishes itself by embracing cutting-edge collaborations with technology-based artists and designers, delivering a multi-sensory experience like no other. From groundbreaking light and motion-responsive costumes that transcend multiple scenes to a digital set created by the visionary artist Avram Finkelstein, transporting the storyline from historical old Dutch Brooklyn to the iconic Flatbush Avenue, this production captures the essence of today’s tech-driven and innovative audience while satisfying their yearning for tradition and human connection.

The Brooklyn Nutcracker takes place on Saturday, December 16 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be a community performance held for public schools and senior centers on Friday, December 15 at 11:30 a.m. Tickets start at $30 and are available here