'Nutcracker Suite and Spicy' returns with its genre-mixing take on the holiday classic
Dancer and choreographer Carolyn Paine says that by the time she was 20 years old, she had danced in “The Nutcracker” close to 15 times.
"Every dancer has this love/hate relationship with 'The Nutcracker,'" Paine said. "It comes around every year, and you do it again and again. It’s kind of dated and boring, and I really wanted to create something that was fun and modern."
Twelve years ago, Paine set about bringing the Nutcracker into the 21st century by incorporating other dance genres like hip-hop, jazz and tap.
“I wanted to have different kinds of dance, dancers from all different backgrounds and different styles and bring them together,” Paine said. “Just like you would have in any urban environment like Hartford.”
Paine also updated the classic tale, switching the opening Christmas Eve Party at the Stahlbaum House to a modern-day ugly sweater party, hosted by a grown-up Clara.
This is CONNectic Dance’s first live performance of "The Nutcracker Suite and Spicy" since 2019. But the dancers aren’t as rusty as you may think. In September, the troupe was filmed performing the show, both on the stage at the Bushnell in Hartford and at SoNo Studios in Norwalk. A video of that performance is currently being projected on the facade of The Bushnell in Hartford on evenings the theater is open through January.
Live performances of “The Nutcracker Suite and Spicy” run Friday, Dec. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.