Press: Louisville Ballet Joins Nationwide Effort To Address ‘Nutcracker’s’ Asian Stereotypes

By Ashlie Stevens for WVXU

November 29,2018

The Louisville Ballet studios are bustling this week as the company prepares for their 2018 production of The Nutcracker, which premieres next Saturday.

Dancers work through Act II of the production, over and over; it’s the part of the show during which Marie and her Prince enter “The Land of Sweets” and are greeted by a familiar cast of characters: The Sugar Plum Fairy, Candy Canes, Spanish Hot Chocolate, Arabian Coffee.

And the Chinese Tea Dancers.

That particular segment of The Nutcracker has received a lot of attention since last year when the New York City Ballet redesigned the choreography, costumes and makeup in their version of the classic ballet — veering away from the antiquated caricatures often depicted in the scene.

Many companies, even those that are internationally renowned, like the New York City Ballet, would present Asian stereotypes year after year. Male dancers moved with pointy fingers and wore rice paddy hats; the women wore geisha-style wigs and exaggerated eye makeup.

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