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Jewish Nutcracker

Universal message. 'The Nutcracker' (archives) Photo: AP
Universal message. 'The Nutcracker' (archives) Photo: AP

Tchaikovsky classic gets kosher twist

San Francisco dance company puts very modern, Jewish spin on ballet performed across globe over holiday season
Published: 01.01.13, 07:40 / Israel Culture

VIDEO – A San Francisco dance company has put a very modern and Jewish spin on a ballet performed across the globe over the holiday season. It was set to a score composed by Tchaikovsky more than 100 years ago, yet this nutcracker is unlike any other.


Set in modern-day San Francisco, the "Jewish Nutcracker" starts with a girl named Miriam who is more interested in texting her friends than in the family Hanukkah party.


Video courtesy of


Artistic Director Katy Alanis Rous says the idea for the "Jewish Nutcracker" came to her three years ago as she was reading a Hanukkah storybook to her son Amitai. They both dance in this production.


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The story follows Miriam from the family Hanukkah party to a dream in which she witnesses the battle fought by Judas Maccabee, and the reconstruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.


About a third of the dancers in the production are Jewish.


The classic "Nutcracker" takes place at a Christmas party with a famous fairy. This "Jewish Nutcracker" has its own sweet fairy appropriate for a Hanukkah story.


Rous says this production has a universal message about overcoming the odds.


“The story itself is a Jewish story, the story of the rebellion of the Maccabees overthrowing the Syrian-Greek Army because of their soul, because of their passion and because of their dedication. Not because they were a trained army.


"I think that’s a really important message to give to our kids – that you can stand up for what you believe in and you can succeed.”



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