Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Ordway

If you like great dancing and incredible feats of flexibility and athleticism, see the Hip Hop Nutcracker! It's a short run, just two nights at the Ordway. The show, produced by The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, combines hip-hop music and dance with the classic melodies of Tchaikovsky.

The show starts with an introduction to old-school hip-hop from DJ Boo with Special Guest MC Kurtis Blow, a trailblazing artist who was the first rapper signed to a major record label. Not just a legend, Blow got the Minnesota crowd hyped up, which is saying something. Speaking of the crowd, it was amazingly diverse, not just ethnically, but by age. There were white-haired folks waving their hands in the air and little children dancing in their seats, and it was great to see.

Image from hiphopnutcracker.wordpress.com
After the opener, violinist Mathew "Mattviolinist" Silvera and DJ Boo riff along with Tchaikovsky before the dancers come out and the action, set on the streets of New York, begins. The dancing is primarily performed to a straightforward recording of "The Nutcracker."

I admit to very little experience with hip-hop or classical dance, but the movement was amazing to watch, and included a lot of moves I recognized from breakdancing videos back in the day. In addition to moving beautifully, the eleven-member cast convey the emotions of the story and the projected backdrop and costumes set the scene for recognizable characters like the mouse king and the snowflakes.

I don't think I'm giving this show its due, but it's a hugely enjoyable evening of really impressive dance and wonderful for audiences of all ages.