There’s more than one way to crack a nut.
With most in-person holiday shows caught in the stubborn jaws of the coronavirus pandemic, some dance companies in New Jersey have turned to the internet to mount their annual “Nutcracker” productions.
Roxey Ballet in Lambertville, for one, has established an online, subscriber-exclusive “Nutcracker Channel.” The nonprofit contemporary dance company began streaming a virtual version of its annual “Nutcracker” production on Thanksgiving Day. It will remain available for viewing through Jan. 1.
“It’s been a busy few months at Roxey Ballet Company putting together our first-ever ‘made for television’ virtual production of ‘The Nutcracker,’” company education coordinator Christina Noll reported in a Facebook post. “All of the time spent learning new technology, meetings over Zoom with the tech crew, and long rehearsal and filming days have come to a close and have resulted in a beautiful production for the whole family to enjoy this holiday season, safely at home.”
The “Nutcracker Channel” also offers “behind the scene” footage, live-streamed rehearsals, interviews, the “Sugar Plum Fairy Adventure” dance class series and a “Women of the Year Choreography Lab” spotlighting five local choreographers creating works relating to women’s issues.
This would mark the 27th year for Roxey’s “Nutcracker,” which under normal circumstance would be presented on the College of New Jersey’s Kendall Stage on the campus in Ewing.
Subscriptions for the “Nutcracker Channel” are $99.99 and can be purchased via Roxey’s website.
The Florham Park-based New Jersey Ballet, which last year brought its “Nutcracker” to the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood and Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, also is going the “by subscription” route with its online alternative to live “Nutcracker” shows this season. “How the Magic is Made in NJ Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’” is a series of free presentations that will be posted every Wednesday through Dec. 30.
“The holidays will not be the same, but New Jersey Ballet wants to bring the joy of ‘Nutcracker’ into everyone’s living room by presenting rarely seen footage, interviews from current and former dancers and excerpts from the production recorded from New Jersey Ballet’s performance space in Florham Park,” the professional dance company’s website noted.
Access to “How the Magic is Made in NJ Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’” is free but viewers must “subscribe” to the company’s email.
American Repertory Ballet announced back in August that it was putting its annual “The Nutcracker” production on ice for 2020 (see American Repertory Ballet cancels 2020 production of “The Nutcracker”). Those looking for a little ARBallet Sugar Plum Fairy magic, however, can get a small taste of it by logging on to the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s free “Holiday Pops!” virtual concerts, which have been streaming weekends in December through Saturday, Dec. 12.
The performance features musical selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” with guest appearances by American Rep dancers Nanako Yamamoto as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Jonathan Montepara as Cavalier. The concert also showcases pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton and the Princeton High School Choir.
An annual alternative to the traditional “Nutcracker” production, the touring “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” last year made stops at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. This year, it’s gone virtual with daily live streams through Jan. 3.
Recorded live at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” is a family-friendly holiday mashup of the traditional story, directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, melding contemporary dance set to Tchaikovskyʼs timeless music. The production is performed by a cast of a 12 dancers with a DJ, a violinist and guest MC Kurtis Blow, who opens the show with a short set.
Tickets are $25, which gives access to the live stream and on-demand views afterward.
Another, more recent alternative to the straightforward “Nutcracker” has been Nimbus Dance of Jersey City’s adaptation, “Jersey City Nutcracker.” This, it will be “Jersey City Nutcracker — the Movie,” to be presented online 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, and Saturday, Dec. 20.
Using Tchaikovsky’s score, the JC version places the action in an urban setting and is built around original choreography by Samuel Pott, projections of animated scenes by local video artists and libretto by Pott and Alyssa Souder. The online filmed version is directed and produced by o7 Films’ Stephanie Daniels and Mark Smith.
Tickets are “pay what you wish” with a suggested minimum of $15 per viewer.
The Summit-based New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble will post three performances of “The Nutcracker Virtual Experience” to fulfill its 51st anniversary of presenting the holiday classic.
The production, choreographed by NJDTE artistic director Nancy Turano with 35 “pre-professional“ dancers, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13, and 2 p.m. Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Tickets are $99 per household. For information, email [email protected], visit njdte.org, or call 908-273-5500.
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Patrick O’Shea may be reached at [email protected].