After 25 years, Mark Morris’s gender-bending, Charles Burns-inspired 1970s Nutcracker still pushes the boundaries of the classical ballet. With a cast of Mark Morris company dancers as well as returning performers from the Hard Nut‘s quarter-century history, it’s also something of a family reunion. Brooklyn Magazine stepped backstage during its short run at BAM this year to take a look at one of Brooklyn’s most beloved Christmas traditions.
Chelsea Acree, party guest, snow, Russian, flower. “I’ve been doing the Hard Nut since 2007.”
Laurel Lynch, party guest, snow, Arabian, flower.
Michelle Yard, party guest, snow, flower. “I’ve been dancing in the Hard Nut for 19 years. Other Nutcrackers—I’m biased—are so boring. Especially the party scene!”
June Omura gets her hair done.
Domingo Estrada, Jr., party guest, snow, Spanish, flower.
In the make-up room backstage.
Chelsea Acree. “This is my first time doing the party scene, it’s new and exciting.”
Kraig Patterson, house keeper/nurse. “It’s the one time I get to perform again. The whole family is getting back together. The challenge every year is doing it, gravity.”
Kraig Patterson. “It’s a reunion, the whole family is getting back together.”
Lesley Garrison, Louise/Princess Pirlipat, snow.
June Omura. “It’s a different Nutcracker. I sort of grew up with it. I can’t imagine any other.”
Nicole Sabella, rat soldier, snow, French, flower.
Dallas McMurray, party guest, snow, Russian, flower. “I didn’t used to be all about Christmas but this definitely helps.” Of his large curly wig, “Once this goes on my head, I become a whole different person.”
In the hair room backstage The Hard Nut.
Kraig Patterson. “My character? She’s gotten a little bit older, more matronly than I used to be.”
All images by Jane Bruce