When the Rock School for Dance Education decided to create a new version of The Nutcracker, they decided to get revolutionary. So the setting is Philadelphia, circa 1776, and Ben Franklin is there, as are confetti-firing canons. The titular nutcracker makes a fiery grand appearance — as in there’s real-live fire on stage. Needless to say, this is not your standard Nutcracker. “It’s a similar story to the original, but the main characters and location have changed,” explains Bojan “Bo” Spassoff, president and co-director of the Rock School (which, full disclosure, is the same Rock family that owns City Paper). The cast consists of more than 150 students from the school’s respected pre-professional ballet-training program. All levels of students appear, though Stephanie Wolf-Spassoff, the school’s co-director, assures us that “the dancing is at a very high level. With the lead characters, you know you’re seeing really good dancing.” The choreography for Nutcracker 1776 is original, as are many of the costumes — but rest assured, the music remains the superb Tchaikovsky score, albeit in abbreviated form. According to Bo, the show is specially designed with a “rhythm and pace that’s more what children are used to.” Certain aspects of the story are condensed, or deleted entirely, but the famed pas de deux section remains intact. As Stephanie observes, “Some things are just sacred.”
Sat., Dec. 1, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., $10-$40, Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.; Sat.-Sun., Dec. 8-9, 1 and 4 p.m., $15-$25, Centennial Hall at the Haverford School, 450 W. Lancaster Ave., Haverford.
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