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Two exclusive Nutcrackers arrive in Philadelphia

Two exclusive Nutcrackers arrive in Philadelphia

As the city continues to welcome the arts again, particularly during the holiday season, Philadelphia will offer two unique performances of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, The Nutcracker. One will have an all-black team and the other all-female.

The Chocolate Covered Nutcracker tells the famous story of Clara and the Prince of the Nutcracker, but with a cultural twist that includes music from Brazil, Egypt, and carnival traditions. The production is written by black artists and performers, for the first time in Philadelphia.

Produced by Chocolate Ballerina, a service organization that supports talent of all ages in the Philadelphia area, the cast will also include Premier Prima Ballerinas and Conway Academy Ballerinas of Washington, DC

“We hope to create an annual celebration of Black Excellence through our productions,” says Founder and Artistic Director Chanel Holland.

“Our team demonstrated extraordinary artistic effort during the training process and we can’t wait to share our show with the greater Philadelphia community.”

The Chocolate Ballerina Company illustrates the struggles and successes of African American culture through dance. Since the organization was founded by Holland in 2017, it has engaged the underprivileged through dance to inspire and instill a sense of hope, discipline and confidence through professional development. The company also offers free dance lessons, sponsored programs, pop-up shows, and more, both in person and in person.

“The TAPCRACKER” is an all-female movie set in the holiday classic, with the music of Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington. Hosted by Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble, this will be her fourth annual show. “Our dancers are very excited to be back on stage,” said artistic director Cat Echevarria.

Dancer Tamira Dalum agrees. “I hope people leave happy and excited after a year without being on stage.” Dalum plays Fairy Tapmother and is also an assistant director on filming. “It’s a role that I really love and that I grew up with, it gives me the opportunity to improvise.

This mix of jazz and tap dance includes a talented group of thirty dancers from the First Company, Apprentice Company, and Youth Ensemble of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Along with Dalum, it also stars Sarah Vaughan as the Queen of Versailles, Jessica Dodds as Tapker Crusher, Abigail Stinson as the Rat Queen, and Sarah Taylor as Clara.

“Although Clara is nine and I’m 12, she’s a pretty easy-goer. Taylor, who’s been in show business since he was two, is kind of like a naughty bitch like me,” laughs.

Founded in 2011, the non-profit organization Lady Hoofers TAP produces original dance works, in keeping with the tradition of American rhythmic tap improvisation, providing innovative rhythmic dance to a diverse audience.

As much as you are part of the entire cast, everyone involved understands the importance.

“It’s really important to have a female crew,” Taylor adds. “Everyone is excited.” Dolom repeats. “It’s amazing to feel powerful in a place where men dominate.”

As for The Nutcracker: Dipped In Chocolate premiering at Drexel University’s Mandela Theater, both shows sold out on Sunday, December 19, but to learn more about the Chocolate Ballerina Company, visit chocolateballerinacompany.com