A SYTYCD Nutcracker?

Hmmm.. I found this through Blogging SYTYCD. Neil Haskell and Sabra Johnson, finalists from SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE are going to be performing in a Buffalo, New York production of the ballet, The Nutcracker. In lieu of the Spanish Variation, they’ll be dancing the Paso Doble piece they performed on the show.

I think it’s a very interesting move to merge different kinds of dance with ballet in this way. Not a Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Balanchine blending of classical steps with a more modern vocabulary to create something original, but literally plunking down a wholly different kind of dance into the middle of a ballet. Sounds like it’ll work here though because it is a Spanish variation after all. I just wish the choreography from that routine was more authentically Spanish and not so showy. It’ll definitely broaden the audience base, that’s for sure!


  1. I think this is great, but Buffalo sure seems like an odd choice for where to do this. Is it just me?

  2. about 3 years ago, a local dance studio put on Clarita’s Nutcracker and it had every type of dance they offered at the studio (flamenco, ballet, hip hop, jazz & tap). it wasn’t very enjoyable because it just felt like a big mash up with no common ground.
    i don’t know, call me old fashioned but i like my Nutcracker to be the traditional ballet version. i do agree with you, if the choreography was more authentic, then maybe it would work.

  3. i hate it when people mess with whole ballets…balanchine did it with the nutcracker (Switched the order of the songs), and…this! Just seems like they want to accomodate the SYTYCD dancers in the easiest way possible. Would it be so difficult to actually have them learn choreography to match the music?

  4. I think this is great, but Buffalo sure seems like an odd choice for where to do this. Is it just me?

    Neil is from a suburb of Buffalo, so I imagine that’s why it’s being done there. American Academy of Ballet, which is in the suburb next to his, is one of the area’s bigger dance schools, so he probably took classes there.

  5. I think there have been a small handful of ballet companies toying with collaborating with ethnic dancers for the ethnic-y bits. I know I’ve heard of a couple of middle eastern dancers have worked on the Arabian Coffee bits. Most of what I’ve heard, though, has been consulting with the ballet company to help create ballet/ethnic fusions to the original music.

    I wish more dance companies would do that though. I remember reading online where a dancer was saying her director was letting her choreograph her dance to the Arabian dance, and she was talking about how she was going to do the splits and all sorts of things that had absolutely zero to do with any dance done anywhere near the Arabian peninsula. I was stunned.

    I think things like the land of sweets dances in the Nutcracker are the perfect place for dance companies that aren’t necessarily cutting-edge to start experimenting with world influences in a safe place.

  6. Ugh. I would be ecstatic if I lived in Buffalo, then again, it seems to be only a way to sell more tickets and be able to charge more $$$ for them


  7. Meg,

    Thanks for the heads up, I had totally spaced where Neil was from. I do hope that we’ll get the chance to hear from someone that attends this, I’d like to know how it turns out. Tonya, is it cool with you if I post this news over at Grapevine in case any fans of the show read there and can get to the show?

  8. Sure, go ahead, Sharon! I would love to see this, to see how it pans out, but I’m so far from Buffalo it looks pretty likely that I won’t be getting up there. Emma, that’s really interesting — I had no idea this type of thing has been done before. Sharon, please let me know if anyone goes!

  9. Oh those are so cool, Selly! Thank you so much! I miss him so much, I feel like crying… That’s an Anya dress all right!!! She has the most amazing collection of dresses, you would not believe — all so sexy and she looks so gorgeous in them! I remember Danny saying that once about her too — her collection of dresses. I can’t wait to read your write up! Thank you again 🙂

  10. You’re welcome! I thought you would like those. The show was pretty dang amazing. Shauna and Anya did solos but not Hok or Jesus… that was kind of confusing. But, w/e.


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