Though theaters may be closed, the tinkling chimes of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” score can still be heard in a variety of manners. From an elaborate staging in New York’s Hudson Valley to recordings from the stage, here’s a selection of performances you can catch from home this year.
A Week of Holiday Delights
New video premieres nightly at 6 p.m. Eastern Dec. 21 through Dec. 25
Celebrate the holidays with five “Nutcracker” videos from Dance Theatre of Harlem. The first four videos — all choreographed by Roland Garland — feature music from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s “Nutcracker Suite,” along with a selection from David Berger’s “Harlem Nutcracker.” The final film showcases choreography from Marie Chong in the “Grand Pas de Deux,” set to the classic Tchaikovsky score.
“The Brooklyn Nutcracker in the Jewel Box”
Streams Dec. 21 through Jan. 4
First debuted in 2016 with direction and choreography by Brooklyn Ballet’s Lynn Parkerson, “The Brooklyn Nutcracker” tells the story of the borough through ballet, hip-hop and more. Previously performed at the Kings Theatre on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue, this year’s version sees the company’s studio transformed into a “jewel box” to present solos and group pieces, all danced with social distance protocols in place.
“The Nutcracker at Wethersfield”
Streams Dec. 20 and Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. Eastern and Dec. 26 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern
Travel upstate to New York’s Hudson Valley for this site-specific “Nutcracker,” staged at the Wethersfield Estate — a neo-Georgian manor house with major charm. The immersive work, performed live and in-person for a small group of attendees, was created by BalletCollective and will stream for free Dec. 23 and Dec. 26. A special interactive performance featuring discussions with dancers Ashley Bouder, Megan Fairchild, Lauren Lovette and Kathryn Morgan will take place on Twitch Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. Eastern.
Streams through Dec. 31
Billed as an “interactive journey,” San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker Online” features not only a high-def capture of Helgi Tomasson’s “Nutcracker,” but also a tour of the company’s “virtual opera house,” a chance to learn choreography and more. For a sneak peak, we recommend perusing this interactive program guide, filled with the sights and sounds of “Nutcracker.”
“George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”
Streams through Jan. 3
In November, New York City Ballet principal dancer Ashley Bouder performed the coveted role of the Sugar Plum Fairy as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now, NYCB is continuing their holiday offerings with a virtual presentation of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” starring Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as Her Cavalier and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop.
Streams through Jan. 3
Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” presents a remixed take on the classic. Set to Tchaikovsky’s score, the performance features 12 dancers, a DJ and a violinist, with MC Kurtis Blow introducing the show at the top. The capture was recorded at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
“The Nutcracker Pas de Deux”
Captured at New York’s High Line hotel, this performance from Alexei Ratmansky’s interpretation of “The Nutcracker” stars American Ballet Theatre principal dancers James Whiteside and Isabella Boylston (who also happens to be the host of Ballerina Book Club). The 10-minute film made its grand premiere on the gigantic screens in Times Square and is now available to watch at any time.
And speaking of Whiteside and Boylston, both will be participating in the star-studded variety show “Fancy Nut Mix,” which is billed as a “spectacle of Nutcracker magic.” Produced by Garen Scribner (host of Broadway Sandwich), the show premieres on YouTube Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern. Whiteside will portray the Sugar Plum Fairy, dance a duet with Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters, “Coffee” and Ratmansky’s “The Grand Pas de Deux” with Boylston, “Tea” (choreographed by Al Blackstone) with New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck, and “Candy Canes” with Demi Remick.
“Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker”
“Every day is not just a rehearsal for ‘Nutcracker,’ it’s a rehearsal for the rest of your life,” says choreographer and screen icon Debbie Allen in “Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” now streaming on Netflix. The documentary goes behind-the-scenes as the cast prepares for Allen’s annual holiday showcase “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” performed at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles.
Weekly premieres through Dec. 31
For an adult-only iteration on the classic tale, we suggest “Nutcracker Rouge.” Brooklyn-based Company XIV, founded by Austin McCormick, has re-imagined its annual sultry “Nutcracker” as eight “decadent spectacles,” all curated and packaged with cocktail kits. (Break out the fancy drinking cups!) The series of performances kicked off with opera-singing aerialist Marcy “Operagaga” Richardson in “Candied Violet” on Thanksgiving Day. The next episode, “Lady Licorice,” drops Dec. 17, with the weekly videos all available to stream after their premieres.