The Hip Hop Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s 130-year-old ballet reimagined as a holiday dance spectacle, will travel to 30 cities this fall to celebrate the show’s 10th season, including a stop in Cincinnati at Taft Theatre on December 1.
The touring production features hip hop pioneer Kurtis Blow, the first rapper to be signed by a major label in 1979. Blow is considered one of hip hop’s founding fathers and will perform as the MC of The Hip Hop Nutcracker. The tour includes a cast of a dozen all-star dancers, an on-stage DJ and an electric violinist who turns the beloved Tchaikovsky score on its head. Preview the production here.
Created in 2013 by director/choreographer Jennifer Weber and writer Mike Fitelson, The Hip Hop Nutcracker pays homage to the original (George) Balanchine ballet, retold through the modern, self-expressive gaze of hip-hop culture. The production has evolved into a masterpiece due to the creators' never-ending commitment to enhancing the production, and dancers who continue to raise the bar each year. To date, The Hip Hop Nutcracker has been performed more than 200 times in 70 cities.
”I love taking this show on the road each year and creating lifelong memories for our audiences,” says Kurtis Walker, known professionally as Kurtis Blow. “And to be celebrating our 10th season this year is such a big accomplishment for the show.”
It’s a big accomplishment for Blow as well. On December 6, 2020, he had a heart transplant that has given him a new life. He paved the way for generations of hip hop artists and fans after scoring the first certified gold record rap song in 1980, “The Breaks.” He was also the first rapper to be signed to a major label. Blow is also responsible for “Christmas Rappin,” the perennial first rap holiday song.
Just like the classic Nutcracker story, in The Hip Hop Nutcracker Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince go on a dream adventure battling a gang of mice, visiting the land of sweets and learning the lessons of the holiday season. Innovative digital graffiti and visuals transform the landscape of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story from traditional 19th century Germany to the vibrant, diverse sights and sounds of contemporary New York City. Through the modern, self-expressive gaze of hip hop culture, the dynamic performers of The Hip Hop Nutcracker celebrate the magic of the entire holiday season on the most inclusive holiday of them all – New Year’s Eve, a time for new beginnings.
*While supplies last. Tickets are subject to price increase based on demand, applicable taxes and Ticketmaster fees. All events rain or shine. Dates, times and artists subject to change without notice.