A Classic revisited

Nutcracker Rouge

At Christmas, one of the traditions which is difficult to bypass is the sacrosanct Nutcracker.
For purists, there is George Balanchine’s version at NYC Ballet. Classic, sublime, timeless.
For the more daring, we found a burlesque version a little more off the wall. Rococo, extravagant, suggestive.

At the instigation of the Company XIV troupe, Hoffmann’s tale turns into a bacchanal. To appreciate it, you need to understand the burlesque genre: it’s a variety show that combines dance and songs with a comic tone often caricatural, sometimes provocative. Burlesque shows are very popular in New York and the adventure is rather reserved for the curious who want to experience this type of entertainment in the pure American tradition. Now that you’ve been warned, you may enjoy this rhapsodic ballet: muddled dancing steps, acrobatic and contortionist moves interspersed with vocal solos.

While the traditional Nutcracker is a fable about the transition from childhood to adolescence, the Nutcracker “Rouge” from Company XIV is resolutely more adult. Little Clara, renamed Marie Claire for the occasion, is engaged in a sensual initiatory journey. What is at stake in the (very) charming Minetta Lane Theatre is a freely revisited version of the tale, choreography and music. You will of course find some of Tchaikovsky, but also the famous Habanera from Carmen, a Gainsbourg song or a cover of Lady Gaga. This is somewhat eclectic. But we will not deny ourselves this pleasure because, in this super production, the costumes are sumptuous and the dancers stunning. Just wait for the apotheosis during the final pas de deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy.

As a true homage to the Christmas ballet, this Nutcracker Rouge is a beautiful way to honor tradition while thinking outside the box.


Nutcracker Rouge
Minetta Lane Theater
18-22 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village
Performing until January 17th 
Every night except Monday – from $50 to $125

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