Brandeis Ballet Company gives ‘The Nutcracker’ a modern twist

Photo/Mike Lovett

The cast of Brandeis Ballet Company's "The Nutcracker" during rehearsals.

When Brooke Granovsky ’18 and Hannah Schuster ’18 were first-years, they participated in the Brandeis Ballet Club’s weekly classes with a professional instructor. It was fun and useful in building ballet skills, but a fairly modest operation.

After seeing a performance of "The Giver" by the Harvard Ballet Company during their sophomore year, Granovsky and Schuster thought about turning the club into something bigger. What if they could put on their own full length ballet?

"We wanted something that was classic that we could modernize," Schuster said. "What's better than the Nutcracker, the most classic of ballets?"

Granovsky and Schuster established the Brandeis Ballet Company to focus on the performance element of the club. They consulted with theater arts faculty before endeavoring to create the company’s first production of the Nutcracker in December 2016. Its second production was held Dec. 9 in the Shapiro Campus Center.

The performance - which is choreographed by Granovsky and Schuster, who are now the co-presidents of the Ballet Club - is a mix of modern and classical ballet, featuring music ranging from Tchaikovsky to dubstep. The performance is led by members of the ballet company and members of the club are invited to try out for parts. The performance also includes other organizations and clubs on campus, like B'yachad, Hooked on Tap, Toxic and the Brandeis Ballroom Dance Team.

Along with the choreography, the company also creates its own set and props, and held two “Nutcracker Tea” sessions in November and December, where costumed company members created Nutcracker-themed crafts with children from the Waltham Boys and Girls Club and SPECTRUM.

"It's nice to see us come together as a community," said company member Hannah DeRoche '19. "Everyone really works together. It's the week before finals, but the energy is high and we're all excited."

While this is only the second Nutcracker staged by the company, there is hope that it will become a tradition.

"We hope this will be an annual thing," Granovsky said. "Maybe we can come back in 20 years and see what they are doing with the choreography."

Categories: Arts, Student Life

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