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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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It’s hip hop set to ‘The Nutcracker’ and Tchaikovsky; Nat Geo Live series is canceled

Already in its seventh touring year, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” continues to surprise audiences with its stark juxtaposition of artistic styles.

At 7 p.m. Dec. 19, a version of the celebrated holiday dance spectacle, recorded at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, will be streamed online for audiences at home across the country.

Tickets are on sale at firstinterstatecenter.org.

For every dance fan who has seen a Christmas production of “The Nutcracker” and thought, “Sure, spinning en pointe is cool, but can they do it on their heads?” your prayers have been answered.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring our show to new audiences as well as to those who have made ‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker’ a holiday tradition,” NJPAC producer David Rodriguez said in a news release.

“This year, not only will audiences experience the magic of ‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker,’ but they will do so in their own homes.”

In this contemporary reimagining, Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince battle marauding gangs of mice, visit the land of sweets and learn the lessons of the holiday season in a dreamlike adventure.

Digital graffiti and other vibrant visuals drag ETA Hoffman’s classic tale right out of 19th century Germany and drop it directly into present-day New York City.

The cast includes a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, an electric violinist and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip-hop’s founding fathers.

Produced by NJPAC with executive producer Eva Price and co-commissioned by the United Palace of Cultural Arts, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” aims to take audiences “on a journey that celebrates love, community and the magic of the holiday season.”

“While I’m saddened we can’t take ‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker’ on the road this year, I’m thrilled we’re able to find a way to bring this show to audiences around the country for the seventh consecutive season,” Tony Award winner Price said in a news release.

“This will be a holiday season unlike any other. I’m so glad we’ll have this comforting, inspiring and inclusive tradition to provide much-needed and well-earned joy.”

For more information, visit hiphopnutcracker.com.

2021 Nat Geo Live canceled

Citing scheduling uncertainties resulting from COVID-19, WestCoast Entertainment has officially canceled the 2021 National Geographic Live speakers series.

“Over the past six seasons, we have been proud to partner with STCU to bring the National Geographic Live speaker series to Spokane highlighting some of the most wondrous achievements, sensations and stories from around the world,” WestCoast Entertainment President Justin Kobluk said in an email Monday.

“We look forward to the time when we are able to bring this remarkable series back and be awe-inspired again in the future.”

The Nat Geo Live speaker series would have featured Egyptologist Kara Cooney’s “When Women Ruled the World” on Feb. 13; photographer Ronan Donovan’s “Social By Nature” on April 16; and photographer and filmmaker Andy Mann’s “From Summit to Sea” on May 21.

For more information about the Nat Geo Live series, visit natgeolivespokane.com. Season ticket holders have been contacted by email and will automatically receive a full refund.

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