A holiday tradition gets a fresh take as the Yard presents “Nut/Cracked” this weekend at the Performing Arts Center. Based on the classic Tchaikovsky score and the ballet featuring a fantasy story of a wooden soldier nutcracker come to life on Christmas Eve, “Nut/Cracked,” by New York City’s Bang Group, reimagines the tale with a more modern score as a playful, multidiscipline dance.
“Nut/Cracked” has become a staple of the New York City holiday lineup, and has been performed at New York Live Arts since 2002. The New York Times wrote about the show, “Mr. Parker and Mr. Kazin’s [Bang Group founders David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin] piece is not only immensely entertaining, but also intensely musical and witty, melding tap, disco, ballet, and contemporary dance over 22 scenes that combine fantasy and silliness to marvelous effect.”
The show incorporates a number of dance styles: tap, vaudeville, and traditional en pointe ballet, set to various arrangements of the original score and drawing from multiple genres including variations by Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, and others.
Along with the New York troupe, the Vineyard performance will feature guest artists from The Yard, as well as students from Martha’s Vineyard High School.
Despite its contemporary feel, “Nut/Cracked” retains the story and many of the elements of the classic, including the tree, the snow, and, of course, the Waltz of the Flowers, but presents the story in a unique and crowd-pleasing mélange of dance styles. The Huffington Post said of the show, “Beginning to end, ‘Nut/Cracked’ is a masterful mash-up of nostalgia, artistry, and fun.”
“Nut/Cracked” has played all over the U.S. and Europe, to critical acclaim. The Bang Group, whose mission is described on their website as “David Parker’s vision of diverse dance forms united by a common purpose,” has won numerous awards, and its work has been presented at New York’s Symphony Space and the Public Theater, among other venues.
For the past four summers, the Yard has brought the Bang Group to its campus for residencies, public performances, and fundraisers. The Yard’s artistic director, David White, has had a friendship and professional association with Mr. Parker going back many years. The Bang Group’s unique style of rhythm-based theatrical dance was part of the inspiration for the Tap the Yard festival, launched in 2011 when Mr. White came on board with the Yard. The Bang Group has been an integral part of that festival for the past four years.
It’s a real treat for Vineyard audiences to see a show this year which will be presented in New York City by invitation only. We’re fortunate that thanks to Mr. White, the Island will be one of only two stops (including Boston) on the Bang Group’s holiday tour. Hopefully “Nut/Cracked” will become a part of the Vineyard’s holiday tradition.
“Nut/Cracked” by the Bang Group, Dec. 5 at 6:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center. Advance tickets can be purchased through dancetheyard.org or at the door. Tickets are $20 (Yard members); $25 (general); $15 (seniors 65-plus, students, active military); $5 (children under 12).