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Odyssey Dance Theater re-imagines holiday classic

(Source: Eric Christensen)
“The ReduxNut-Cracker,” scheduled to appear at WSU’s Browning Center on Dec. 4 and 5, breathes fresh air into a holiday classic. (Source: Eric Christensen)

In true Odyssey Dance Theatre fashion, the classic “The Nutcracker” has been revamped, entering the digital realm with the modernized production, “The ReduxNut-Cracker.” The best part is: it’s coming to WSU.

“The ReduxNut-Cracker,” scheduled to appear at WSU’s Browning Center on Dec. 4 and 5, breathes fresh air into a holiday classic.

Odyssey Dance Theatre’s founder and artistic director, Derryl Yeager, created this updated version of “The Nutcracker.”

“[I] decided to tackle a classic and put a modern spin on it,” Yeager said. He said that he wanted a production that audiences today could relate to better than the 1860 Christmas party of the original production.

Yeager also chose the word “redux,” which means “brought back; revived” for the title of this modernized production.

“I wanted to capture the idea that it was a new version,” Yeager said. “So, if you say ‘ReduxNut,’ there’s a ring to it, and then after a short pause, say ‘Cracker’—it kind of sticks with you.”

WSU sophomore Justine Cherry, offers her view on modernizing dance classics like “The Nutcracker.”

“It’s about time they did this,” Cherry said. “Ballet isn’t the genre to be in anymore because it’s not as popular.”

Cherry danced for 15 years starting at the early age of 3. She said that ballet was her least favorite genre to perform, especially due to its difficulty. She also says that even though she can appreciate ballet, other genres add much-needed variety to the stage.

There are some students who make it a tradition to see the older version of “The Nutcracker.” WSU junior Courtnee Goodwin, said that she has seen the traditional version of “The Nutcracker” for the past three years but that she would be willing to experience something new.

“I wouldn’t put forth judgement until I’ve seen it,” Goodwin said. “But it sounds like a cool idea.”

“The ReduxNut-Cracker” is in its third year, and some of its popularity, aside from the hip-hop dancing mice, may come from the moral lesson that has been inserted into the program.

Yeager said that he designed this production around Clara, played by a native of Ogden Amber Williams, having several experiences in the digital world after she’s been absorbed into it through her cell phone. In the finale, other characters in the production all surround and overwhelm Clara.

“She throws down the phone, and the parents come in, and she realizes that THEY are what are important,” Yeager said.

Yeager says this ending is quite different from the “they came, they danced, they went home” plot line of the original “The Nutcracker.”

“We’ve actually created a moral to the story,” Yeager said.

Goodwin said that she always felt like the traditional ending to “The Nutcracker” always left her hanging, so she likes the lesson added into this modern version.

“Family is more important than Facebook,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin said that she, like many others, checks her phone a lot, but people need to know when and where it’s appropriate.

“I think wrapping [the production] with a lesson is a great idea,” Goodwin said.

Between the updated music, the various dance styles and the heart-warming moral, it seems as if there is something for everyone this Christmas in “The ReduxNut-Cracker.”

For more information about the show or for ticket information, visit


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