Choreographer Jennifer Weber talks about mixing genres in “The Hip Hop Nutcracker”


Weber is also looking forward to the official Broadway openings of two new shows she has choreographed. “KPOP” the musical, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of KPOP superstars, opens November 20; Shakespeare’s pop music adaptation “& Juliet” opens November 17.

For Weber, it is “a magical moment”. “It’s absolutely crazy – some of this stuff I’ve been working on for 10 years, and it’s like it all falls into place in a week!” she says.

Weber is especially excited to see “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” hitting TV screens this season, as dance videos sparked her love of hip-hop as a child.

Drosselmeyer (played by Comfort Fedoke), Toy Two (played by Tiler Peck), and Maria-Clara (played by Caché Melvin) in Disney’s “Hip Hop Nutcracker.”Ser Baffo/Disney

“When I grew up in Amherst, there wasn’t a big hip-hop scene,” she explained. Weber therefore recorded Janet Jackson’s videos on his television and learned the choreography. “For me, all of these music videos sparked my interest in this kind of energy and style that I didn’t see anywhere else,” she said.

During his career as a hip-hop choreographer, Weber often blended hip-hop with ballet and other dance styles. “I love mixing different things and bringing different people together in the room,” she explained. “There’s something so beautiful about showing that people who seem opposite can be on the same page.”

Jennifer Weber grew up in Amherst before becoming an in-demand New York hip-hop choreographer.Courtesy of Jennifer Weber

In adapting “The Nutcracker,” Weber said she found many elements of the classic spectacle and her score lent itself well to hip-hop choreography. She staged the famous fight scene between the toy soldiers and the Mouse King army as a dance battle between hip-hop styles. The Mice were “b-boys and b-girls,” using a breakdancing style that’s heavy on the floor and “gives you a very mousey feel,” Weber explained. The soldiers were “poppers”; “Popping” is a dance style that, according to Weber, “has very strong angles and very complex shapes” suited to clean, even movements.

This kind of mixing of genres is the future of the dance world, according to Weber. “When I look at young kids today who are really into the dance culture, they’re learning all the styles and they’re amazing at everything,” she explained. “I think there will be a lot more crossovers [between styles]and I see that in every sense of the industry.

Hip-hop’s founding father, Kurtis Blow (born Kurtis Walker), has been the MC of “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” since its world premiere, and he’s thrilled to see the ballet world “connecting to hear and listen to what hip-hop has to say,” as he said. other things.

Weber “does her part as much as she can by including the [hip-hop] pioneers” in the show, he said — not only Blow himself, the first rapper to sign with a major record label, but Rev. Run from Run-DMC, which is the MC of the movie version.

“It was our mission to spread the joy, to spread the love,” Blow said of the hip-hop pioneers. “’The Hip Hop Nutcracker’ brings this reality to life. … We still do, spreading the love.

The Nutcracker Hip Hop Tour is coming to Providence Center for the Performing Arts December 7 and Hannover Theater and Conservatory in Worcester on December 29.

Joy Ashford can be contacted at [email protected] Follow them on Twitter @joy_ashford.


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