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The Hip Hop Nutcracker Joins the Roster of Holiday Offerings

The dance production modernizes a Christmas classic.

Virgil Gadson of Broadway's After Midnight will perform with The Hip Hop Nutcracker this December.
(© David Gordon)

This holiday season, the United Palace of Cultural Arts presents The Hip Hop Nutcracker, offering its debut performances at Manhattan's United Palace and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The show will perform at NJPAC on Friday and Saturday, December 5 and 6, followed by a show at the United Palace on December 7.

Based on the holiday classic, the show retains Tchaikovsky's original score but replaces the ballet choreography with hip-hop. The story, which traditionally takes place on Christmas Eve, is now set in Washington Heights on New Year's Eve, with an additional plot twist added to the second act.

"King of Rap" Kurtis Blow will serve as the production's special guest MC, opening the show with an introductory rap. The Washington Heights-based SONOS Chamber Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky's music at the Palace performance.

"We were faithful to the music and let it drive the storytelling," said director/choreographer Jennifer Weber. "The juxtaposition of the hip hop dance and classical music allows you to see the beauty of both in fresh ways, finding new rhythms in the music to accentuate. Since Tchaikovsky's score doesn't have a predictable beat, there is always a sense of surprise in the movement."

The production's company of 12 dancers includes Virgil Gadson, Robert Taylor Jr., Sammy Soto, Angelo Saunders, Ramone Wilkinson, Sophia Lavonne, David Yijae, Myriam Gadri, Lucile Graciano, Megan Alfonso, Ann Sylvia Clark, and Taeko Koji.

For tickets and more information, click here.