Hip Hop, Ballet, and Modern Dance combine in Hyde Park Dance's The Nutcracker

Hip Hop, Ballet, and Modern Dance combine in Hyde Park Dance’s The Nutcracker

Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) brings together fans of ballet, modern, and hip hop with its annual presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Performances are December 9–11 at Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1131 E. 57th Street, Chicago.
The performance is staged by HPSD’s founding Artistic Director August Tye, longtime ballet mistress for Lyric Opera of Chicago, along with 10 choreographers. The 75-minute narrated production this year adds a new “Land of Treats and Gifts for Clara” scene featuring African dance staged by West African instructor Mark Vaughn. Also special to this production is a “Hip Hop Dance” battle to showcase the range of dance genres the school offers while sending a message of peace—instead of battling with swords, mice and soldiers tap into the power of hip hop to work out their differences through creative self-expression. The cast includes weekly students and members of the school’s pre-professional Studio Company.

The Nutcracker 2022 marks our return to a complete cast of dancers ages 7 and older,” said HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye. “We have not had our youngest dancers involved since 2019, so the energy and excitement are palpable. We are also thrilled to add our new African dance scene as a highlight of the many countries we celebrate in The Nutcracker. Our Chinese Dance will feature all-new traditional Chinese dance choreographed by guest artist Angela Tam, artistic director of Yin He Dance. We are happy to maintain our reputation of presenting the tradition of The Nutcracker while innovatively updating the program for a modern-day audience to enjoy and appreciate.”

Also returning live this year is HPSD’s Young Dancers Holiday Preshow prior to both performances on Saturday, December 10.

The production features surprise cameos by local VIPs in the larger-than-life role of Mother Ginger, this year including Caprice Lindsay, assistant vice president and business development officer at Hyde Park Bank. Previous guest performers have included Hyde Park Herald Editor Daschell Phillips, Montgomery Place board chair Mike McGarry, former Kenwood Academy High School Principal Dr. Gregory Jones, 5th Ward Alderperson Leslie Hairston, former State Representative Kimberly DuBuclet, and Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell.

HPSD faculty and students are rehearsing the production in renovated studios at the school’s home, 5650 S. Woodlawn Avenue. The renovation project has provided three additional studio spaces, for a total of five. HPSD is offering more dance styles, including belly dance, tap, jazz/contemporary, and more options for adults.

Hyde Park School of Dance’s The Nutcracker takes place Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 10 at 1 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m. at Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th Street, in Chicago. General admission is $33 for adults, $25 for seniors (65+), $13 for children ages 6–18 and college students with school ID, and free for children 5 and younger. Tickets are on sale now at 773-493-8498 or hydeparkdance.org/nutcracker