Berlin State Ballet canceled production of Nutcracker due to blackface and cultural stereotypes

Berlin State Ballet canceled production of Nutcracker due to blackface and cultural stereotypes

According to the German edition of Bild, the management of the State Ballet of Berlin has removed the production of “The Nutcracker” from the repertoire due to manifestations of racism and cultural stereotypes. The acting artistic director of the troupe Christian Theobald told the media about this.

This production was created in 2013 by Russian choreographers Vasily Medvedev and Yuri Burlak. The play is a reconstruction of the original production by Marius Petipa in 1892. It cost the theater one and a half million euros.

As Theobald noted, some of the elements that were considered the norm at the time are unacceptable in the modern world. The point, for example, is the dark makeup, which imitates the black skin of the ballet dancers. The theater received its first complaints in 2015. Then the audience did not like that children in black makeup appeared on the stage – they took him for a blackface.

Berlin State Ballet canceled production of Nutcracker due to blackface and cultural stereotypes

Theobald talked about other ballet scenes that should be removed or modernized as they reflect cultural stereotypes. For example, Chinese dance – in it the artists move with mincing steps, as well as oriental dance, where women from the harem participate, and the soloist appears with dark brown makeup. These scenes were also considered offensive in Scotland. As a result, the directors promised to change the characters, costumes and choreography of key scenes.

They promised to return to the theater's repertoire the performance “The Nutcracker” after revising the problem scenes. When this will happen is unknown.

I am convinced that we must present this performance in a new context,

– said Theobald.

Berlin State Ballet canceled production of Nutcracker due to blackface and cultural stereotypes

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