Unique Nutcracker performances that will surprise you

For nearly 200 years, the magical story of The Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition enjoyed by families all over the world. Chicagoland is no stranger to Nutcracker performances. In fact, here are 12 classic ones that you can enjoy with the family. But if you’re looking for those with a unique twist, here are five more that will be sure to wow you.

The Hip-Hop Nutcracker With MC Kurtis Blow at Rosemont Theatre

Where: Rosemont Theater, 5400 N. River Rd, Rosemont

When: Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Unique factor: Hip-hop fans will enjoy this twist on the beloved holiday classic. Expect to listen to Tchaikovsky remixed with live hip-hop, see popping instead of pirouettes, and more explosive choreography, plus an electric violinist.

Clara’s Dream

Where: Libertyville High School, Butler Auditorium, 708 W. Park Avenue, Libertyville

When: Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10:30 a.m.

Unique factor: This preschool presentation by Dancenter North is just 60 minutes long, so if you have little ones that can’t sit still, this is a perfect show for them. Although it may be shorter, it still has the same cast, choreography and wow factor as the original.

The Nutcracker

Where: Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus, 1131 E. 57th Street, Chicago.

When: Dec. 9-11

Unique factor: Hyde Park School of Dance’s 90-minute narrated holiday classic takes a spin (literally) by showcasing a wide range of musical genres. As a sign of peace, the mouse-soldiers use hip-hop as their weapons instead of battling with swords

Dance-along Nutcracker

Where: Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor South, 78 E. Washington St. Chicago

When: Dec. 4 with performances at noon and 3 p.m.

Unique factor: Join in and pretend to be sugarplum fairies and toy soldiers as members of Ballet Chicago guide you, all while dancing on pointed toes to the familiar music of Tchaikovsky played by the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band. If you and your littles are interested in learning ballet moves, members will teach basic ballet positions and movements before each performance. (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.)

Duke it Out!

Where: Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.

When: Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Unique factor: Think classical music meets jazz at this concert presented by Dance Chicago and The Music Institute of Chicago.

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