Monique Foster, artistic director of the Borderlands Ballet Company, gives two reasons why she thinks “The Nutcracker” remains the most popular ballet to perform at this time of year: the music and tradition. “I don’t think there’s any music that is so universally loved everywhere,” she told Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin in this Zoom interview. “But I also think people like tradition. I’ve been running a school for 22 years and I find that kids like to have a tradition. I think adults like to have a tradition. I think grandparents like to have a tradition. And ‘The Nutcracker’ is a huge part of that tradition.”
This weekend, Borderlands Ballet Company and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance Company will uphold that tradition when they jointly present “The Nutcracker” in a production that will retain some of the most beloved elements of the ballet while also introducing some more contemporary aspects. “We wanted to create something really fantastic, really full of mystery and magic,” said Chadi El-Khoury, Executive Director of Dark Circles. “And what’s really important to us is that we’re incorporating classical ballet vocabulary and also mixing that with more contemporary, modern movement.” As an example, he said, “it’s not limited to being upright. We use the floor a lot, we essentially fly through the air and we get as low as we can, and as close as we can to the floor, so it’s very much that full body, physical, visceral movement.”
Monique Foster and Chadi El-Khoury on a Zoom call
Listen to the full interview for more about the collaboration, the music, and the principal dancers who will perform. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts.