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Memphis’ “Nutcracker” returns with 20th anniversary shows

An hour before the curtain, she was backstage watching as a small group rehearsed the show they had come home for. Dubbed the “Nutcracker” of Memphis, this 20th anniversary of New Ballet Ensemble and School’s “NutRemix” brings alumni back onto the stage amid the new generation of dancers at the school.

“You never forget how to dance,” show creator Katie Smythe said to one of the returning students, who was pirouettes backstage.

During this rehearsal, alumni come together to personally dance the choreography they learned via video outside of Memphis, while the New Ballet students they all remember as young dancers now perform title roles in “NutRemix,” Smythes inventive take on ballet has now settled into his space as a Memphis tradition.

Backstage:Lil Buck’s Jookin’ stage show in Memphis is gearing up to impress America

Dancers rehearse for New Ballet Ensemble's 20th Anniversary Edition

Embracing global dance styles more authentic than classic Christmas ballet, New Ballet’s work places Memphis Jookin’ squarely between flamenco and Congolese dance styles. In the same scene, the audience sees breakdancers flipping over while ballet dancers soar.

“We want everyone in these courts to feel like they own this,” Smythe said as she performed Memphis High School graduate Sunyah Fisher along with professional breakers Luis Arrieche and Elider Rosales.

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