The Mark Morris Dance Group at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Wednesday, December 15.
The tone of The Hard Nut, Mark Morris’s idiosyncratic take on The Nutcracker, is hard to pin down. It’s definitely satiric—tweaking E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, the 1960s setting into which he’s transposed it, and the conventions of ballet itself—but it’s never caustic, and at times, it’s genuinely affecting, albeit in an offbeat sort of way. When the snowflakes, for example, made their appearance—with men and women alike dressed in silly caps, crop tops, and super-short, heavily ruffed tutus, flinging white confetti in sync with the music—I could only giggle along with everyone else in the audience. But as “Waltz of the Snowflakes” continued, giggles melted into happy sighs. The ballet is still irreverent and cheeky, but it becomes wondrous and beautiful too.