Holiday Spin 

Are you searching for a different kind of holiday tradition? Something that's familiar but not too familiar? Area artists are happy to comply with new shows and dynamic reinventions of the classics.

It's been 10 years since New Ballet Ensemble's founding director Katie Smythe broke The Nutcracker down to its bare essentials and reassembled it in a way that allowed traditional ballet to mingle with elements of modern dance and contemporary urban club styles, especially Memphis jookin. Her company's Nut ReMix has become a multicultural holiday tradition that is unlike any other in Memphis and a showcase for some of the city's most dynamic dance talent.

This modernized take on Tchaikovsky is set on Beale Street as a hard snow sets in. Classical music blends with jazz and climaxes in a hip-hop battle against the Mouse King.

If that's not enough spin on the holidays, you may want to visit TheatreSouth at First Congregational Church to take in a performance of a show called Holiday Spin starring Sister Myotis, the unchallenged queen of Memphis evangelistainment.

With the help of her lovely assistants Ima Lone and Velma Needlemeyer, Sister Myotis is determined to win the war on Christmas. The weapon of choice: a game show. Sort of.

Much like Voices of the South's recent forays into improv, the evening's format will randomly change from night to night, determined by a spinning wheel of fortune and audience whim. So, what will it be then? Christmas karaoke, a good story, or a ridiculous contest? It's up to you. And fate.

Nut ReMix at the Germantown Performing Arts Center, December 4th-8th. newballet.org

Holiday Spin at TheatreSouth, December 6th-21st. voicesofthesouth.org

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