Krumping rats and popping soldiers, crooked hats, and the Nutcracker Ballet, re-imagined by the Urban Ballet Theater, will never be the same. The Abrons Arts Center hosts the Nutcracker in the Lower for its ninth consecutive year, establishing a cultural tradition that is as diverse as it is relevant. Nutcracker in the Lower explodes with daring and delight, twisting the classic story of Clara and her magical adventures to reflect Manhattan's cultural diversity.
The Party Scene, traditionally depicted as an opulent 19th century ball, becomes a holiday salsa fiesta. The Battle Scene, infused with hip-hop choreography, can easily be imagined in a crumbling subway station as gigantic mice and crisp toy soldiers wage war over the heroine's fate. Dancers add dynamic cultural authenticity in the Spanish and Chinese segment, while Classical ballet retains the traditional grace of the delicate Snow Pas de Deux & Waltz of the Flowers.
Tchaikovsky's original score remains largely intact throughout the ballet, injected with the baselines of hip-hop and the burnished cante of flamenco. The inclusion of such diversity not only innovates the storytelling for both children and adults, but also represents the multilayered community of artists in the Lower East Side.