Each year as the Christmas season draws near, ballet companies and their students spend hours, weeks and months in rehearsals preparing to perform
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
The story of a young girl named Clara who goes on a magical adventure with her beloved Nutcracker toy has become a perennial holiday favorite for both
young and old.
Through a dream sequence, Clara and the Nutcracker (who eventually turns into a Prince) battle the evil Mouse King and his army of rodents, enter into The
Land of Sweets where they encounter the Sugar Plum Fairy, and enjoy dancers from many lands.
Courtesy: Beyond the Pointe Dance
This isn’t your traditional version of The Nutcracker. Created, choreographed and directed by Nicole Hargro, Beyond the Pointe Dance Company’s Naptown Nutcracker features African-American leads and gives the holiday classic a more urban feel.
There are nearly a dozen versions of The Nutcracker performed on stages throughout Central Indiana - from the Indianapolis School of Ballet to
While most stay true to the classical retelling of the two-act fairytale ballet, Beyond the Pointe Dance offers an urban twist.
Now in its sixth year, Naptown Nutcracker features classical and contemporary ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop and even some martial arts to tell the
story of the young girl and her toy soldier. The hour-long production, performed by students age 5-17, offers three performances this Friday (Dec. 4 th) at Marian University Theatre.
“That’s the difference between us and the traditional, classical ballet of ‘The Nutcracker,’ “ says Nicole Hargro, founder of Beyond the Pointe, about the
different styles of dance. “We’re not really a spinoff, but I always try to make the comparison to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Wiz’ when (describing) our
version of ‘The Nutcracker’ to the others.”
Hargro, who also directs a traditional version of The Nutcracker each year at Broad Ripple Magnet High School where she teaches, says one of the
reasons she created Naptown Nutcracker was to bring the popular story to the urban community.
Many of the dancers in Naptown Nutcracker are African-American, including young Clara (renamed Clarissa in this retelling).
“The majority of our performers are African-American, but we do have other nationalities of dancers involved as well,” says Hargro. “(For me), young black
girls need to be able to see a girl that looks like them in that role, in a lead role.
Courtesy: Beyond the Pointe Dance
Naptown Nutcracker also features classical and contemporary ballet, jazz, hip-hop and modern dance. Three performances will be held Dec. 4 at the Marian University Theatre.
“My vision and my goal is to offer underprivileged children the opportunity to perform in a production as big as something like The Nutcracker and
to be able to do just as much, if not more (dance styles), than some of the other dancers at some of the other companies that exist in the Central Indiana
area,” she explains.
Although there are a few changes to the storyline and character names, Naptown Nutcracker pays homage to the traditional score by Tchaikovsky in the
party scene but also includes a Kenny G medley, and a Nat King Cole overture.
Hargro knows she took a huge chance in tweaking a beloved holiday classic – Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker received its premiere in St. Petersburg,
Moscow, in 1892 and its western premiere in the 1940s – but believes her audiences get enough of the classic tale.
“(Our story) is more reminiscent to this day and time, for people who really don’t know about the traditional story, she says. “But they do get the
classics within this production.”
As for the retelling of the classic version, Hargro is happy that there are several offerings each holiday season throughout the city.
“As a dance instructor and teacher, I never want our young generation to lose the foundation of dance – especially in the performing arts,” says Hargro.
“We’re getting to the place where we’re going toward the hip-hop end in dance, and that’s all well and good in its place. But we can’t lose what was
founded – our original start, our original classics, our original moves, as far as ballet is concerned.”
An urban version of the holiday classic The Nutcracker, presented by Beyond the Pointe Dance.
10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4.
Marian University Theatre, 3200 Cold Spring Road.
$3 all ages (10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. shows); $5 adults and $3 students (4:30 p.m. show).
Ballet companies and schools throughout the world, and around Indianapolis offer a variety of performances of this holiday classic each year. From
traditional to non-traditional to touring versions, here are several offerings of the popular ballet.
(Performances are listed according to dates.)
Butler Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker also features the Butler Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5, 2 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6.
Clowes Hall, 4602 Sunset Ave.
$21.50, $28.50 adults; $17, $23 children, students and seniors.
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre’s G2 students will stage The Nutcracker Dec. 4-6 at Pike Performing Arts Center.
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre
A full-length modern version of The Nutcracker, performed by G2 (the pre-professional company of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre) and Academy
students. This re-imagined version portrays Klara as a homeless orphan girl who discovers the true meaning of the season from an unlikely source: a
homeless man. A Nutcracker Tea will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 5 (before the matinee performance).
7 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5, 3 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6.
Pike Performing Arts Center, 6701 Zionsville Road.
$25 adults, $15 students and seniors for performance. Tea tickets are $15 per person or $85 for a table of six.
Broad Ripple Magnet High School
A production featuring the classical version of this holiday ballet performed by students at Broad Ripple Magnet High School.
The Indianapolis School of Ballet will perform a traditional version of The Nutcracker..
Indianapolis School of Ballet
A full-length version of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, featuring ISB’s pre-professional students and special guests. This holiday production follows
the traditional story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker, while transporting audiences to Victorian Indianapolis inside the Morris-Butler House.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 3 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21.
Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater, 650 N. Meridian St.
$22-$27 adults; $17-$22 children, students and seniors.
Ballet Theatre of Indiana presents its first production of The Nutcracker at the Athenaeum in downtown Indianapolis, featuring BTI professional dancers and
guests from Le Danse Ballroom and Ballet Theatre of Carmel. (Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be available for purchase in the lobby.)
Bio: Shelby Roby-Terry has worked as a journalist for more than 20 years and served as a reporter and editor at several papers throughout Indiana and New Orleans, Louisiana. She is founder and owner of The Forty Group, an Indianapolis-based PR, Marketing and Event Planning agency. During her spare time, Shelby...Shelby Roby-Terry has worked as a journalist for more than 20 years and served as a reporter and editor at several papers throughout Indiana and New Orleans, Louisiana. She is founder and owner of The Forty Group, an Indianapolis-based PR, Marketing and Event Planning agency. During her spare time, Shelby loves reading, traveling and hanging out with family and friends. She also volunteers throughout the community and serves on several boards for local not-for-profit agencies.more