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Hip-Hop Nutcracker Returns to Washington Heights Before International Tour

By Carolina Pichardo | November 13, 2015 4:29pm | Updated on November 16, 2015 8:53am
 The holiday musical returns to Uptown with new dancers, scenes and music.
The holiday musical returns to Uptown with new dancers, scenes and music.
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United Palace of Cultural Arts

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS – The Hip Hop Nutcracker is returning to Washington Heights on Nov. 20, and this time it’s taking the world by storm with an international tour.

What started out as a simple, Washington Heights holiday event in 2013, has grown to an international event, with the United Palace spearheading the show. The show features the classical music from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” set to the beats of DJ Boo, 11 dancers, an electric violinist, and digital scenery of Washington Heights.

According to rap legend, pioneer and MC of the event, Kurtis Blow, the show is hip-hop on steroids.

“The fact that [hip-hop] can fuse and network with other forms of music and other styles of music,” Blow told DNAinfo, “I’ve always been a big fan of that.”

Although this is the second year Blow is hosting the event, his excitement is still the same. “We’re billing it as the greatest hip-hop show on Earth,” he said with a laugh.

Blow’s history in hip-hop dates back to 1979, when he launched his first record and became the first rapper signed to a major label. He went on to record 15 albums, win several awards and endorsements, before landing on the biggest stage in Washington Heights.

Mike Fitelson, executive director of the United Palace, says it’s this energy, along with the caliber of dancers and music, that’s taking this year’s show to another level.

“For us at UPCA,” he said, “we want to put a different feeling about the holiday, and what art can be.”

The holiday show will kick off the tour at the United Palace on Nov. 20, and continue with a Nov. 21 matinee show featuring local musicians, dancers and circus artists.

These are the only two shows in New York City, and then the group will head off to Miami, Atlanta, St. Paul, Charleston, Charlotte and several other cities across the U.S. The show will wrap up early next year in Russia.

“Folks don’t know music like this,” Fitelson said about the holiday show, “it can transform.”

Tickets for both performances are $10 to $100.