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The Nucracker(ish) - dancer silhouettes and winter snowflakes

A Modern Take on Classics: SMTD Dance Presents “The Nutcracker(ish)”

Dec 1, 2023 | Dance, DEI, Outreach, Students

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s Department of Dance rings in winter with a unique presentation of The Nutcracker(ish), a contemporary, BIPOC-focused interpretation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King blended with elements of The Wizard of Oz. This enchanting tale is the brainchild of father-daughter pair Tim Rhoze and Kara Roseborough (MFA, ’24 dance), and will be performed in the Dance Performance Studio Theatre within the recently-opened Dance Building on the University of Michigan’s north campus on December 8, 9 and 10, 2023.

The Nutcracker(ish) introduces the audience to Clara, a young ballerina-in-the-making, who is transported to a bewitching Oz-inspired world. Clara sees herself befriending the Nutcracker and a Snowwoman, standing up to the notorious Mouse King, and seeking blessings from an awe-inspiring Sorceress to make her deepest wish come true.

The Nutcracker(ish) - graphic of dancer silhouettes and snowflakes

The show, which first premiered in 2018 at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston, Illinois, began as a community engagement project emphasizing equity. The University of Michigan’s revitalized production expands on the initial concept, boasting a larger cast, further dance numbers, and a synergy with the newly-established Ballet & Books chapter at U-M.

Ballet & Books, a nationwide non-profit, strives to diminish the literacy gap by merging the power of storytelling through dance and reading. Children aged between 3 to 9 are encouraged to boost literacy skills via a combination of dance lessons and interactive reading.

Kara Roseborough (MFA ’24, dance), co-founder of the U-M Chapter of Ballet & Books. Roseborough is the choreographer of The Nutcracker(ish) and the director of U-M’s production. Photo credit: Miguel Morna Freitas

This partnership marks a milestone, as the Department of Dance becomes the first university dance department to establish a Ballet & Books chapter. Conducting sessions every Friday at the Beatty Early Learning Center in Ypsilanti, children enrolled in the SEED program are engaged in a variety of interactive activities, simultaneously building literacy skills and dance techniques. Participation in the program remains entirely free, with books and dancewear supplied to all enrolled children, and the autumnal session ending with their performance in The Nutcracker(ish).

With its crucial emphasis on diversity and community engagement, The Nutcracker(ish) guarantees not only a magical experience for spectators but also an enriching platform for its young participants.

Tickets for all performances of The Nutcracker(ish) are free and first come, first served. The box office will open one hour before the performance starts. As soon as you enter the dance building, the box office will be located directly to your left. Tickets are limited, and as soon as the tickets are claimed, no more will be given out. An overflow space will be set up in one of our studios so those without tickets can watch the performance on the screen.

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