Memphis’ ‘Nutcracker’ returns with 20th anniversary shows

Table of Contents

An hour before the curtain, she sat in the wings, watching a small group rehearse the show they had come home for. This 20th anniversary of New Ballet Ensemble and School’s “NutRemix,” billed as Memphis’ “Nutcracker,” brings alumni back on stage among the school’s new generation of dancers.

“You never forget how to dance,” show creator Katie Smythe told one of the returning students who pirouetted in the wings.

During this rehearsal, alumni gather to personally dance the choreography they learned via video outside of Memphis, while the New Ballet students they remember as young dancers now play titular roles in “NutRemix,” Smythe’s inventive twist on the ballet chapter that is now establishing itself in its space as a Memphis tradition.

Behind the scenes:Lil Buck’s Memphis jookin’ show is preparing to awe America

Dancers rehearse for the 20th anniversary edition of New Ballet Ensemble's NutRemix" on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at the Cannon Center in Memphis.  Alumni and current students are participating in the production this year.

New Ballet’s work incorporates dance styles from around the world in a way that is more authentic than the classic holiday ballet, placing Memphis jookin’ squarely between flamenco and Congolese dance styles. In the same scene, the audience sees breakdancers flipping while ballet dancers levitate.

“We want everyone in those seats to feel like this belongs to them,” Smythe said as she watched Memphis high school senior Sunyah Fisher perform alongside professional breakers Luis Arrieche and Elider Rosales.


Leave a Comment