Hyde Park School of Dance Presents The Nutcracker
Celebrating 30 years of training, performance, and community, Hyde Park School of Dancebrings together fans of ballet, modern, and hip hop with its annual presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Performances are December 8–10 at Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1131 E. 57th Street, Chicago.
The performance, featuring more than 200 dancers, is staged by HPSD’s founding Artistic Director August Tye, longtime ballet mistress for Lyric Opera of Chicago, along with 11 choreographers. HPSD takes a spin on the classic show with a narrated production throughout the 75 minutes, while adding genres such as tap and acro dance. Also special to this production is a breakdance battle to showcase the range of dance genres the school offers while sending a message of peace—instead of battling with swords, mice and soldiers tap into the power of hip hop to work out their differences through creative self-expression. The cast includes weekly students and members of the school’s pre-professional Studio Company.
“The Nutcracker 2023 marks our 30th Anniversary,” said HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye. “Last year was our first in-person show since before the pandemic, and that palpable energy and excitement is carrying over. In fact, we’ve had a record turnout for this year’s auditions, and we are elated to accept each and every dancer in our production. We are also thrilled to continue our African dance scene as a highlight of the many countries we celebrate in The Nutcracker. Our Chinese Dance will feature all-new traditional Chinese dance choreographed by guest artist Angela Tam, artistic director of Yin He Dance. We are happy to maintain our reputation of bringing the tradition of The Nutcracker to the stage while innovatively updating the program for a modern-day audience to enjoy and appreciate.”
Also notable this year is the return of HPSD’s Young Dancers Holiday Pre Show, occurring prior to both performances on Saturday, December 9. On opening night, December 8, HPSD welcomes world-renowned steppers David and Laura Shareef for a Steppin’ Pre Show.
The production also features surprise cameos by local VIPs in the larger-than-life role of Mother Ginger. Previous guest performers have included Hyde Park Bank Assistant Vice President and Business Development Officer Caprice Lindsay, Hyde Park Herald Editor Daschell Phillips, Montgomery Place board chair Mike McGarry, former Kenwood Academy High School Principal Dr. Gregory Jones, 5th Ward Alderperson Leslie Hairston, former State Representative Kimberly DuBuclet, and Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell.