Holiday Fun

A “Nutcracker” That’s (Very) Naughty and Nice

Brooklyn’s sexiest dance troupe, Company XIV, gives “The Nutcracker” a burlesque makeover with opera, aerial acrobatics, ballet—and fantastically fit bodies.

This isn’t your mother’s “Nutcracker.”

Spice things up this holiday season by seeing Nutcracker Rouge, one of New York’s most daring, artful, and brilliant theater productions. The fact that the show is a naughty take on the wholesome Christmas classic is just icing on the gingerbread.

For more than a decade, director-choreographer Austin McCormick’s Company XIV has been pushing boundaries with artistic and erotic flair. After a time performing at venues across the city, his accomplished troupe of actors, dancers, operatic vocalists, circus performers, and burlesque stars are finally setting down roots in their very own Bushwick warehouse, fashioned in their signature Versailles-meets-Brooklyn aesthetic.

nutcracker rouge
Pushing boundaries (and backs) in Nutcracker Rouge.

Taking inspiration from the notoriously decadent performances at King Louis XIV’s court, Théâtre XIV is decked out in opulent glory with dazzling chandeliers, Baroque-style couches and thrones, and soft lighting that renders the cavernous warehouse both intimate and mysterious. Preshow festivities begin at the theater’s fabulously ornate BARoque, where champagne and absinthe cocktails flow freely.

Nutcracker Rouge, Company XIV’s rendition of the beloved Nutcracker, is a raucous, erotic coming-of-age story of a naive girl who enters into the Kingdom of Sweets, a hedonistic Eden of sugary confections where no sneaky snakes arise to shame her. Free to express her lusty feelings and carnal urges, she meets with burlesque candy cherries, sexy snowflakes, a dancing matador, and an ensemble of orgiastic can-can dancers and trapeze artists. The pageant of athleticism and finely tuned talent culminates in a mesmerizing rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Sugar Rum Cherry” and a pas de deux set to Tchaikovsky. But that’s all for now—to tell more would spoil the fun.

nutcracker rouge
A girl can dream…

Why You Should Go: Company XIV puts on some of the city’s most brilliantly titillating shows, and its performance of Nutcracker Rouge is the first in its new Bushwick home. In keeping with the season of giving, half of the box-office proceeds will go to the Ali Forney Center, an organization that offers shelter to LGBTQ youth in the city.

Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge
Théâtre XIV
383 Troutman Street, Bushwick
Through Sunday, January 14
Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Ballet and burlesque in a Bushwick warehouse is truly an only-in-Brooklyn experience. Allow us to make it happen.