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'Urban Nutcracker' integrates Boston into classic story

We just wish they brought back a little bit of the Russian dance music.

"Urban Nutcracker" might as well be called "The Boston Nutcracker." Tony Williams' interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Christmas story embraces the city's modern diversity with sets featuring the Public Garden, a strong performance-art community, multiracial and military families, a gay-friendly environment and all that is great about the Hub in 2012. The artistic director also melds the classic score of Tchaikovsky with the jazzy soundtrack of Duke Ellington.

The Epilogue captures the spirit of the season -- Spanish-style. It's a street party featuring the tap, hip-hop and flamenco dancers from the Flamenco Dance Project and soul singing by the G-Clefs.

New costumes freshen up Act II as do new props for the tap dancers. An additional Chinese Dai dance that precedes the traditional Chinese music is interesting, but seems out of place. The omission of the original Russian dance music is a disappointment.

Standout performances include Boston Tap Company founder Sean Fielder, Minimeyer (Yo-el Cassell), jazzy Sugar Plum Fairy (Elizabeth Mochizuki) and Ice Cream Cart leads Jonathan Vandurburgh and Lindsey McGovern.

If you go

Tony Williams’ ‘Urban Nutcracker’

Through Sunday

John Hancock Hall

180 Berkeley St., Boston

$20-$125, 888-596-1027


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