“The Nutcracker” Gets a Local Twist

The seasonal ballet revisits 1940s Los Angeles, for two performances only.

City Ballet of Los Angeles

All cities are laden with historic highlights, of course, but it takes a certain sort of place to be rich in myth and legend and fable and story-making ability.

If you think the sentence that follows such a grandiose statement will include the words "and Los Angeles is such a place," you'd be right. Pretty much any neighborhood or era associated with our metropolis could be re-imagined and honored through the prism of a classic tale.

Like "The Nutcracker," for instance. Tchaikovsky's famous ballet is famously re-imagined year-in and year-out, but rarely does it get a distinctly local treatment. It will in the hands (and toe shoes) of the City Ballet of Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22. That's when "The Nutcracker Swings" gets swingin' at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Hancock Park.

Tickets range from $25 to $50.

You know the historic Ebell is in Hancock Park, of course, but we mention the location because that is also the setting of this particular "Nutcracker." Picture Hancock Park in the early 1940s, with Duke Ellington on the radios and a World War II hero on stage.

Don't you love watching a production when it is staged in the place that happens to be the setting for the production? Call it meta. Call it satisfying, even.

The City Ballet of Los Angeles is both cutting-edge and community-oriented. Cutting-edge because the troupe's productions very often incorporate music genres not normally found in ballets, and styles, too; call the approach avant-garde-ism, with flair.

And the community-oriented part stems from the fact that they are very much about helping kids who might not be able to take dance lessons because of cost factors.

Cheers, City Ballet, and cheers to all companies that set a classic tale right here at home.

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