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The ‘Nutcracker’ Meets The Streets

Aired 12/26/13 on KPBS News.

In this version of "The Nutcracker," there’s a Clara. There are sugar plum fairies. There’s even Tchaikovsky’s score. But it definitely doesn’t take place at the turn of the century.

In this version of "The Nutcracker," there’s a Clara. There are sugar plum fairies. There’s even Tchaikovsky’s score. But it definitely doesn’t take place at the turn of the century.

There are 135 dancers in "A Culture Shock Nutcracker," all of whom break dance, beat box, pop and lock their way through the familiar story of a girl and her magical nutcracker.

"I wanted to make it relevant, but still honor what is so magical and beautiful about the ballet," Angie Bunch said. She's the founder of Culture Shock, a San Diego dance company that focuses on hip-hop and street dance.

She grew up loving the ballet, so she decided to fuse street dance with the traditional "Nutcracker" for a modern staging.

"The ballet is relaxing," Bunch said. "It’s so pretty and this one is not. This is not."

Bunch said she "butchered" the original into a high-energy version, using the vocabulary of street dance instead of classical ballet.

"I always worry about boring an audience. I don’t ever want to think they’re going to get up out of their seats," Bunch said.

Unless, she added, it’s to dance.

"A Culture Shock Nutcracker" takes place at the Birch North Park Theater the weekend of Jan 3.

Video

A Culture Shock Nutcracker

Above: Culture Shock dance company started a Kickstarter campaign to support the production. This video accompanied the campaign and gives you a sense of what the hip hop Nutcracker will look like.

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