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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In Context: The Hard Nut

Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut comes to BAM on December 12. Context is everything, so get even closer to the holiday production with this curated selection of articles and videos related to the show. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #TheHardNut.


Program Notes

The Hard Nut (PDF)


Hard Nut Nuggets (BAM blog)
"...offstage, the cast and crew moving floor-to-ceiling set pieces; wig and wardrobe personnel perform highly choreographed quick-changes; and tutu-clad 'Snowflakes' systematically shimmy off their accumulated confetti."

“Cracking Open A Holiday Classic” (The New York Times)
“If you grow up as a dancer,” says Mark Morris, “it’s terrifying, it’s numbing. It’s a sedative. And it’s not. It’s gorgeous, gorgeous music.”

Watch & Listen

BAM Virtual Reality: Mark Morris' The Hard Nut in 360° (YouTube)
Mark Morris Dance Group performs the Waltz of the Snowflakes. Click and drag on the video for a full 360° experience:

The Hard Nut: A Look Back (YouTube)
Mark Morris discusses the origins of The Hard Nut, its boozy party scene, the inspiration of Charles Burns, and much more.

“Waltz of the Snowflakes” from The Hard Nut (YouTube)
A gender-bent winter wonderland.

From Scratch: Mark Morris (WNYC)
Morris talks about his secret process, collaborating with others, and getting earworms.

Dancer John Heginbotham Becomes Mrs. Stahlbaum (YouTube)
A Nut-ty character is born.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Does suburbia look better in pointe shoes? Has Tchaikovsky’s original been duly honored? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #TheHardNut.


  1. I had a divine time, as the vast majority of the audience did.

  2. Delightful dancers. Kudos to the orchestra - they were swell. The costumes and lights, too. It was one of those rare evenings of sheer pleasure. Thank you, MMDG, and may you always be merry and wicked and tender and bright.

  3. Purists beware -- then prepare to be wildly entertained. What a groovy, irreverent, laugh-out-loud take on The Nutcracker -- with the most amazing Waltz of the Snowflakes I have ever seen! (How did they do that? Trade secret, I am sure!) Costumes by the late Martin Pakledinaz were fabulous colorful creations -- no small task to artfully clothe this gender-bending ensemble! Comic-inspired set by Adrianne Lobel was the perfect backdrop. The music was performed live -- did you hear that? LIVE! -- by the MMDG Music Ensemble, and also featured live vocals by The Hard Nut Singers. As fun as it was to experience the mixture of slapstick performance and traditional ballet last night, there was something captivating about those moments before the curtain rose and the entire audience was intently listening to the beautiful musical prelude. So still. So hushed. Then the curtain came up and WHAM! BAM! POW! Can I just say what a pleasure it is to be truly delighted? Go see it! Now! Better yet, make it a holiday tradition!

  4. We attended The Hard Nut last night for the first time. I say first time because after seeing it, I am definitely coming back. The Nutcracker was a tradition for me as a child growing up in Cincinnati. I am a traditionalist at heart but I LOVED last night's performance. I could not get enough. Thank you Mark Morris for opening my eyes to a whole new telling.


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