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Nutcracker interpretation combines old and new

Posted: December 4, 2013 - 1:03am
Nutcracker in the South will be presented Sunday at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.  Special Photo
Special Photo
Nutcracker in the South will be presented Sunday at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.

Seeing The Nutcracker ballet is a Christmas tradition for many, but for dancers who spend months each year listening to Tchaikovsky’s familiar score, there is a desire to do something new and fresh with the music and story.

“Our story line has pretty much the same perspective. The Brown family is throwing a holiday party,” said Ferneasa Cutno, the artistic director at Cutno Dance Center, who has created a contemporary Nutcracker in The South, which will be presented at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center. “But their friends, the Martins, just lost their home in a fire on Thanksgiving.”

The adults give the Martins money at the party, and the Browns’ daughter, Coco, invites the Martins’ daughter, Melanie, to spend the night.

During the sleep-over, the two enter the magical Land of the Sweets – but with a twist.

Instead of sticking strictly to ballet and the traditional Tchaikovsky themes, Cutno blends in Duke Ellington’s jazz version of the Christmas classic and adds a few other pieces, such as music from A Charlie Brown Christmas. In addition, there are hip-hop, modern, African, tap and contemporary dances as well as a visit from Santa and his elves.

Cutno also incorporates the religious theme of the Christmas holiday by having her professional dancers perform to O Holy Night.

“The production reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. There are a lot of parallels,” she said.

Tickets are $15 for children and $20 for adults in advance at 21397.recitalticketing.com. Tickets at the door are $18 for children and $23 for adults.

For additional information, call (706) 364-3442.

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