The Friends University Ballet Department will present a jazz version of a holiday favorite, “Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker,” complete with a live Jazz band.
In 1960, Ellington, an American pianist, composer and bandleader, recorded his jazz interpretation of “The Nutcracker.” Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and Dec. 20-21, and at 2 p.m. Dec. 15 and Dec. 21.
The Friends concert will also include selections from David Berger’s “Harlem Nutcracker."
“‘Ellington’s Nutcracker’ will add diversity to the options for audiences and participants for the holiday season. Just as the original score has opened the door to appreciation of European romanticism to countless American children, so exposure to Ellington can do the same for today’s youth in discovering the richness of American jazz,” said choreographer and ballet director Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre.
Friends students and other dancers from the community will share the stage with four guest performers, chosen for their extraordinary artistry. The first weekend of performances, Dec. 13-15, will feature the return of Jermey Edmonson, freelance dancer from New Mexico. Cortney Key, freelance dancer from New York City, will, join him on stage. The second weekend of performances, Dec. 20-21, will feature Dandara Amorim Veiga and Lyvan Verdecia from Ballet Hispanico in New York City.
Tickets to “Ellington’s Nutcracker” sold out last year, so those who wish to attend should purchase their tickets early at friends.edu/events. Ticket prices are $16 for adults and $12 for students and seniors (60+). There will be two free dress rehearsal performances open to high school students and pre-professional dance students on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19.
The performance will take place in Sebits Auditorium in Riney Fine Arts Center on the Friends University campus at 2100 W. University Ave., Wichita.