'Hip Hop Nutcracker' gives classic a new twist in Washington Heights

ByLauren Glassberg WABC logo
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Brand new 'Hip Hop Nutcracker' production in Washington Heights
Lauren Glassberg in the studio with all the details of this brand new show.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan -- "The Nutcracker" is a holiday classic, but a remake of the show in Washington Heights is getting a lot of attention.

This version of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" has a totally modern twist, both in how it sounds and how the dance is performed.

This is not a ballet, but a hip hop version of the classic.

Jennifer Weber is the choreographer and one of the directors.

The idea for the "Hip Hop Nutcracker" was conceived at the "United Palace of Cultural Arts" in Washington Heights.

"All of the iconic pieces of 'The Nutcracker' you will see in our production, but we give it an urban spin. It's set in Washington Heights, it takes place today, there is a love story, and the magic of the holidays brings everyone together," Weber said.

There are 11 dancers in the production and particularly exciting for the adults in the audience is that the "King of Rap" Kurtis Blow appears opening night.

He thinks the show will inspire future performers.

"Yeah you can take this hip hop thing, your music, your talent, and take it places and go places with it and evolve and grow," Blow said.

Those in the production like 23-year-old Derek Matterson are doing just that.

"Of course the music is a big change, and it's like a whole other format that you have to listen and pay attention to, so I like it, I like the challenge," Matterson said.

"As hip hop dancers we listen to the music and try to interpret the sound into our bodies. We're just as good as interpreting all of the different sounds that Tchaikovsky wrote in the absolutely gorgeous score," Weber said.

For more information on the show please visit: https://hiphopnutcracker.wordpress.com/2015-tour-dates/#