COMPANY XIV’s NUTCRACKER ROUGE, the Sexiest Holiday Gift in NYC

Company XIV’s NUTCRACKER ROUGE; Now thru January 7

Irondale Theater, 85 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217


Allison Ulrich as Marie-Claire, Lukasz Zieba as the Prince. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.
Allison Ulrich as Marie-Claire, Lukasz Zieba as the Prince. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.

The adults-only revival of Nutcracker Rouge is back to arouse audiences this holiday season. Conceived, directed and choreographed by Drama Desk Award nominee Austin McCormick, Company XIV reimagines the classic Christmas tale as a sensual feast for the eyes and ears—intertwining baroque-styled burlesque, circus performance, opera and traditional ballet. It’s perhaps the Nutcracker of our dreams (and desires)–whimsical, dazzling and erotic. Sip a glass of bubbly, get cozy and let yourself be taken away into this magical land of glamour and pleasure.

Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.

The Irondale Theater in Fort Greene, Brooklyn is the perfect match for the aesthetics of the show. It’s an industrial, open space with chipped paint and a balcony that wraps around three sides of the room. Lavish chandeliers and spotlights give the stage and the house a soft glow and a curious air. With unique seating options like crushed velvet, vintage love seats and high-top bar tables, every seat feels special and offers a terrific view! The costumes are absolutely stunning and fit like a glove. Embellished corsets and tutus, garter belts, high-tech masks that glow with lights, structured lingerie, and gleaming sequins were mesmerizing. And lots of glitter and confetti–the diva inside of me beamed at the overwhelming spectacle of it all.

Marcy Richardson. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.
Marcy Richardson. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.

I always thought there was something oddly sexy about ballet dancers. The contour of their bodies are perfect for the art and seemingly unachievable to the average person; they are constrained and controlled, but still effortlessly graceful; they exude power and fragility at once. Nutcracker Rouge brings particular attention to these elements and a sense of humor along with it. The creative decision to incorporate techno, pop, and R & B also served them well. There’s no doubt these dancers have tremendous technique and discipline, but they offer so much more. You won’t find this kind of stage presence, characterization, and flirtatious attitude at the NYCB’s rendition of The Nutcracker.

Lea Helle. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.
Lea Helle. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.

I envision Company XIV as the future of ballet, an art that’s freeing, sexy, edgy, interdisciplinary, and most importantly–relatable. They’re strikingly high-class in terms of production value and skill, but they aren’t afraid to get gritty. In fact, they revel in it. If you are looking for a pick-me-up out of the holiday blues, grab your sweetie, or prospective, and let the seduction wash over you at the Nutcracker Rouge. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Todd Hanebrink, Jourdan Epstein. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.
Todd Hanebrink, Jourdan Epstein. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry.

Cast: Allison Ulrich, Shelly Watson, Hilly Bodin, Uys du Buisson, Jourdan Epstein, Todd Hanebrink, Lea Helle, Nicholas Katen, Storm Marrero, Mark Osmundsen, Marcy Richardson, Scott Schneider, Cara Seymour, Nicholas Sipes, Nicole von Arx and Lukasz Zieba.

Creative team: Jeff Takacs (Text), Zane Pihlstrom (Set & Costume Design), Jeanette Yew (Lighting Design) and Mark Van Hare (Sound Design). The production team includes Nataliya Vasilyeva (Production Stage Manager), Marisol Cabrera (Company Manager), Audrey Nauman (Wardrobe Supervisor), John Starmer (Technical Director) and Nicole Gross (Assistant Stage Manager).

Age 16+ only (show contains partial nudity). For more info and to purchase tickets, visit


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