The classic tale of the Nutcracker gets a twist

The Nutcracker is a family-friendly, holiday classic. But how many times can the tale be told before it becomes lackadaisical? Pulse Dance Company is bringing a fresh, new twist to the beloved holiday story with all things merry and bright.

44106292_2350002511682847_3048708983750656000_n.pngStephanie Wonchala, director of the show, artistic director of Pulse Dance Company and owner of Studio Pulse Center for Dance, called the show “The Nutcracker but shaken and turned upside down.”

Pulse Dance Company, Studio Pulse’s adult, professional performing company, is producing the contemporary version of the Nutcracker titled “The Nutcracker Redux,” a fitting name for a dance revived and more energetic than the classic ballet.

“We’re not changing it so much that it’s not going to make sense… But it is a fresh take, so [for] anyone who’s seen the Nutcracker for years or is really familiar with it, this will be a breath of fresh air,” Wonchala, a UAA alumna, said.

Tradition is hinted to be “thrown to the wind,” costumes are promised to be “bright, fun and wonky,” and flamingoes may even make an appearance. The idea of a twist on the story came to Wonchala as just wanting to offer something new for audiences and the dancers after seeing how most holiday recitals put on “The Nutcracker” during Christmastime.

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Photo credit: Kerry Tasker

The show features about 60 dancers of all ages. The dancers include Pulse Dance Company, other adult dancers from the community and youth students from Studio Pulse’s dance programs. Preparation started in July with auditions and rehearsals taking place in the late summer and early fall.

“While there’s appreciation in tradition, there’s value in bringing something up to date,” she said. “The purpose behind this production is to have a great time, take our minds of current events and to come together as a community to enjoy something utterly delightful.”

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There have been some challenges with getting the show started for the hope for it to be put on in future years, like making sure there are enough costumes of all sizes for future dancers and getting into the story and music but with a different perspective. However, there have been plenty of good things of building the show; Wonchala mentioned how the community has come together for the production and how many dancers were willing to try something new.

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Photo credit: Kerry Tasker
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Photo credit: Kerry Tasker
"Nutcracker Redux" is the classic story of the Nutcracker but with some bright twists.
“Nutcracker Redux” is the classic story of the Nutcracker but with some bright twists. Courtesy of Kerry Tasker.

One of the choreographers and dance instructor, Alice Bassler Sullivan, originally thought she wouldn’t have the time for choreographing for “Nutcracker Redux” as teaching is her main concern, but she decided it was time to let the “creative juices flow.”

“Being quite familiar with myriad traditional versions of ‘The Nutcracker’ both as a performer and choreographer for over fifty years, the added caveat of the Redux with a contemporary flair intrigued me,” Bassler Sullivan wrote in an email. “I was genuinely pleased to see an eager group of fifteen dancers for the first rehearsal… The cast has been really great to work with — always willing to try what I ask of them.”

Bassler Sullivan, also a UAA adjunct dance professor, mentioned how this production will help dancers grow in artistry and technique.

“Nutcracker Redux” performs for two nights only on Dec. 7 and 8, both at 8 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at by visiting their website at pulsedancecompany.org.

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