• Uncategorized
  • 0

Stream it or skip it?

Stream it or skip it?

Disney+ brings the acting to The Hip Hop Nutcracker to homes all over the world via a brand new holiday special. The legendary Rev Run headlines the event, which remixes Tchaikovsky’s score and features performances from dancers from Mikhail Baryshnikov to the Jabbawockeez. But does the magic of the acclaimed live show translate from stage to screen, or should you wait until a production comes to your city?

The main thing: It is Nutcracker score together with some familiar faces (what is a Nutcracker without a mouse king?), but the BPM has been beefed up, the story has been reworded, and the choreography is a tour of hip-hop dance styles over the last 40 years. The plot: The only thing Maria-Clara (Cache Melvin) wants for Christmas is for her mother (Allison Holker) and father (Stephen Boss) to get back together. This wish can only come true thanks to local toy store owner/wizard Drosselmeyer (Comfort Fedoke), a nut vendor (Fik-Shun Stegall), and some midnight magic. But will the mouse king (Jean Sok) put an end to Maria-Clara’s plans? I mean, no, but The Nutcracker is about dancenot plot.

What movies will it remind you of?: Am I dating myself if I say Carmen: A Hip Hop Opera? Perhaps it is more accurate to call this Hamilton — but with an emphasis on dance over lyrics — with a Disney aesthetic (the colors pop) and set for Christmas. But just to point out: The Hip Hop Nutcracker production ahead Hamilton by a few years, though Hamilton premiered on Disney+ first.

Hip Hop Nutcracker - Drosselmeyer
Photo: Disney+

Performance worth watching: Comfort Fedoke takes the stage as Drosselmeyer, wearing a red cape and braids with gold eye accessories. There’s a lot of looks – probably the most looks of anyone in the cast. Fedoke lives up to the looks, but plays a vogue wizard who is captivatingly mysterious. Love watching hand shows on Disney+.

See also  Millions of households are unable to stream the new Disney+ with ads. Here's why.

Memorable Dialogue: The majority of The Hip Hop Nutcracker is told through a handful of narrative sentences that appear on screen to drive the story forward (although the performers honestly do a good job of driving the plot forward through movement alone). That said, Rev Run has a few verses to drop, including this line:

But just at that time love blossomed
This idiot left to sell some nuts

Did I mention it The Hip Hop Nutcracker is fun for the whole family?

Hip Hop Nutcracker - Rev Run and Fik-Shun
Photo: Disney+

A holiday tradition: Well, that’s the problem Maria-Clara wants to solve. Her family no longer lights up the dance floor like they used to! Let’s get that tradition going again!

Two turtle doves: The Hip Hop Nutcracker appears to be the only adaptation of the quintessential Christmas ballet to be released this year. However, you can always chalk this up to the 2020s Dance dreams: Hot chocolate NutcrackerThe Netflix documentary that goes behind the scenes of the legendary Debbie Allen’s annual production.

Does the title make sense?: Yes, there really is no doubt about what you get with this title.

Hip Hop Nutcracker - Jabbawockeez
Photo: Disney+

Our assessment: Translating a stage production into a filmed one is a difficult trick to pull off. If you’re not careful, it can look like a camera on a tripod in the back of the auditorium. You really don’t want to, and that’s especially not the mood The Hip Hop Nutcracker. Fortunately, this production of the long-running stage show matches the kinetic energy of the dance. You never forget you’re watching dancers perform their craft on a stage, but it also never feels like you’re stuck in the cheap seats.

See also  Disney+ confirms February release date for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

This production lends itself well to a filmed format; the sets are impressive, like the recreated row of brownstones that serve as a backdrop for — I kid you not — Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Jabbawockeez number. The sets artfully veer towards expressionism for the more dreamlike sequences, and then it’s the energy that is the combination nightclub/soda shop that subbed into Land of Sweets.

Hip Hop Nutcracker - Land of Sweets
Photo: Disney+

What’s good with The Hip Hop Nutcracker as presented by Disney+, however, is the way it beams decades of hip-hop dance history into the homes of millions. That’s especially true of the Land of Sweets section, which highlights the movements and fashions of decades since hip-hop’s inception. It is also remarkable how ballet, traditional ballet, is kept in the mix throughout. It exists right alongside breaking, voguing, turfing, popping, locking – all kinds of dances (including ones I definitely missed and many I’m sure I just mislabeled). I can imagine this being a favorite for any child, child or teenager who already loves to dance, and all those who will love to dance after watching this special.

And if you or your family want more, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a full-length presentation of the stage version of The Hip Hop Nutcracker available to stream for free online, courtesy of PBS.

Our appeal: STREAM IT, and don’t be afraid to get up and join in on some robot moves of your own — especially if it will destroy your children.

See also  Disney+ expands IMAX offerings with IMAX Signature Sound By DTS in 2023

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *