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Dramatic ‘Nutcrackers’ dance through Brooklyn

Two continents, centuries and styles are on display at BAM.

Many productions of “The Nutcracker” twinkle here this season. Two of the sharpest play at BAM: a reprise of Mark Morris’ 1991 “The Hard Nut,” set in 1970s America, followed by American Ballet Theatre’s new version, choreographed by artist-in-residence Alexei Ratmansky and located in 1810 Europe.

David Leventhal, a 14-year member of Morris’ troupe, dances the dual roles of young Drosselmeier and the Prince in “The Hard Nut,” partnering his wife, Lauren Grant, who plays the central role of Marie in a production based on the designs of comic-book artist Charles Burns. “It’s a very human take on a story that’s usually fantastical,” says Grant. “It’s the one time in the rep where Mark allows us to have our relationship onstage.”

In “Hard Nut,” “Marie declares, ‘This man is for me, let’s dance together,’” adds Leventhal. “The love story component is the essence of the production.”

Ratmansky, the Russian artist-in-residence at ABT, focuses his new show on adult themes in Tchaikovsky’s music. The Mouse King has seven heads and tails. Bumblebees dance with the flowers. This “Nutcracker” opens in a kitchen, and has a “dangerous and mysterious” feel, according to the choreographer.

 
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