Ballet meets Beale Street in New Ballet’s Nut Remix


Mary Gunning

Nut Remix includes dancers of all backgrounds. Jeremy Bowers danced the part of the Angel of Peace, a role dedicated to Memphis Jookin’.

Tchaikovsky reborn in Memphis. New Ballet Ensemble and School’s annual 17th performance of Nut Remix took place on Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. 

Accompanied by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Lemoyne-Owen College Choir, dancers of all levels of expertise, from student to professional, brought to life a multicultural experience filled with different dance styles, including West African drumming and dance, flamenco and Memphis Jookin’. Jookin’ is a style of hip-hop native to Memphis, highlighted in Nut Remix as a local specialty. 

Recognized by the New York Times as one of the three most innovative renditions of The Nutcracker in the nation, Nut Remix drew enough attention to fill the seats of the Cannon Center, seeing as many as 6,000 people in its audience.

Representing White Station in the cast of the show, senior Daquala Butler spent her final year participating Nut Remix working as hard as ever, dancing the corps de ballet of classical ballet pieces Waltz of the Snowflakes and Waltz of the Flowers. Joining New Ballet as a freshman, Butler has performed in African, flamenco and jazz pieces throughout the years. 

Nut Remix for me means chaos. It means lots of laughs, stolen snacks, secret Santa santa and bad makeup,” Butler said, reminiscing on fond memories she has of backstage bonding with her dance family. 

This sentiment is reflected in the air of unity that fills the environment of New Ballet Ensemble. Putting on a show like this takes months of rehearsals beforehand but also cooperation on stage and backstage.