I always knew that food was a universal connector but I had no idea that rhythm was too. I was fortunate enough to see The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Adrienne Arsht Center over the weekend, and was over blown away by the special attention given to incorporating hip hop with Tchaikovsky’s timeless classic, The Nutcracker.
Drawn in mainly due to the comfort I associated with the term hip hop, days prior to the show, I couldn’t help pondering… what it would be like, to see classically trained dancers move to the rhythm of hip hop. Raised in an inner city community by a young yet cool mom, I had been a fan of hip hop literally from birth. I grew up understanding the culture, the apparel and even the unspoken language of hip hop so much so that I considered myself a hip hop connoisseur of sorts. And to be honest, I wasn’t completely sure if hip hop and ballet would mix, but I had to find out for myself firsthand.
So on the day of the show, I knew someone had to represent hip hop, so I heavily considered wearing relaxed attire with a pair chucks (aka Converses). Thankfully, I ultimately decided to dress for the occasion of theater because upon arrival to the Adrienne Arsht Center, I noticed that the halls were filled with every type of person that the South Florida melting pot has to offer, and we all had one noticeable commonality. Hip hop fans and ballet enthusiasts alike were dressed to impress.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker took place in the James L. Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center. That concert hall is equipped with the latest technological advances and holds up to 2,200 guests which can be distributed among an orchestra level and three tiers. The hall also included riser seats located upstage which were suitable for both guests and performers. (arshtcenter.org). However, without a doubt, the description of the hall does not begin to illustrate its beauty or essence and for a few moment, I wasn’t sure if normal theater etiquette would allow me to express my true fervor. This uncertainty was quickly dissipated when The Hip Hop Nutcracker opened with DJ Boo spinning the best in R&B and hip hop classics. Theater guests were on their edge of their seats singing along and grooving to the beat. This was art, culture and entertainment at its finest.
Situated in New York City, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, uses interpretive dance to tell a modern and urban version of original The Nutcracker. The All-star cast, gave the audience chills as themes of love, heartbreak, danger, family bonds, and fantasy were danced out live on stage. Toys and dolls came alive, traveled in time, did soul train lines and featured dance moves that hip hop fans know and love. There was even a moment when the ensemble nae nae’ed and juju’ed on that beat. Honestly, some of you may have to google that, but for hip hop fans, The Hip Hop Nutcracker nailed it. However, for me, nothing topped seeing a pair of sneakers hanging from a lamp post while Emily Simone, an electrifying violinist, stood under the lamp post playing classical music coupled with a hip hop melody. The baseline and string combo melted hearts, and we all clapped in a bravo manner while nodding “job well done.”
I highly recommend that fans of the arts and entertainment use the Adrienne Arsht Center as a place to rev up their holiday spirit. The center is known as the second largest center for performing arts in the United States, and I am positive every show at the Adrienne Arsht Center will leave your refreshed, smiling from ear to ear, and eagerly awaiting the next show. Visit their website to find out about upcoming performances, events, concerts and so much more. Based on what I experienced this weekend, I have an inkling that everything the center brings to stage is bound to woo a diverse range of audiences.
Check out our "On The Scene with Crystal Chanel" in the The Westside Gazette at http://thewestsidegazette.com/?s=NutCracker