Dance Film Sunday Presents Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker

Dance Film Sunday Presents Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

2:00 pm | $12/$10 members/$6 kids 12 under | 1 hr 15 min

Video Capture of Original Retelling of the Beloved Holiday Tale With Brenda Bufalino in Starring Role. Not all Nutcrackers march with the same step–in fact this one taps! “Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker,” a refreshing rendering of the classic Christmas-time story inspired by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s swing version of Tchaikovsky’s immortal score. Local tap luminary Brenda Bufalino, who has a starring role as Auntie Groove, and the film’s producer-director-dancer Drika Overton (who plays Mother) will make personal appearances. This performance was captured before a live audience in 2004 at The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH by Robert Pierce. A series of rich terpsichorean gifts, “Clara’s Dream” unfolds at a Christmas party and at family nightclub scene featuring: an African drummer and dancer, Irish dancers, jazz and hip-hop dancers, body-percussionists, lindy hoppers and tap dancers. This show doesn’t need mice!

“Clara’s Dream” is a coming-of-age story in which Clara, through the magic of jazz, transcends the traditions of her parents to discover her own place in the world. Some of the familiar elements of the Nutcracker remain…with a twist!

The original production premiered in 2000; it was a collaborative effort by a group of performing artists known as MaD Theatricals. The principal artists involved (all of whom appeared in “Clara’s Dream’) are the internationally acclaimed Ms. Bufalino, classical tap dancer and Paul Draper protege Dean Diggins, funky tap groove master Josh Hilberman, and comedic/eccentric dancer Bob E. Thomas, with musician and composer Paul Arslanian—who made the music arrangements as well as original music for the production. The project was directed and produced by Drika Overton. Last performed in 2009, the 20-dancer cast of “Clara’s Dream” and 6 musicians and toured annually in Decembers from 2000 to 2006 in the North-East appearing for over 25,000 people.

Clara’s dilemma is to swing, or not to swing? In her dreams, she dances wildly. Finally, tempted by the rhythm to break out, she is held back by the traditional constraints of her father. Guided by her wily Auntie Groove and her clever Uncle Dross, Clara seeks to find her way.

Duke’s Place, the setting for the second act, is a magical jazz club where nothing is ever as it seems. Arslanian’s swinging 6 piece band blows hot jazz originals of the cool classical Nutcracker themes, including the Spanish, the Arabian, the Chinese, and a sugar-plum Tango. In the nightclub, Clara watches and waits, enthusiastically joining the incarnation of her Jazz Nutcracker in a rousing tap dance finale.

Dance Film Sundays, produced by Edward Schoelwer, is a series which started in June 2010 under the auspices of the Rosendale Theatre Collective. They are held on the 2nd Sunday of every month at Rosendale Theatre.