Savin Hill native plans Saturday homecoming at the Strand Theatre

A lifelong Dorchester resident who danced as child in “The Nutcracker” at the Strand is making her debut there this Saturday as a choreographer as part of a one-night-only special “Out of the Box.” This showcase of fresh new dance is organized by BalletRox, the Jamaica Plain-based dance company which also used to perform its signature holiday spectacle, “Urban Nutcracker,” at the Strand.

Growing up on Savin Hill Lucy Warren-Whitman danced for more than 15 years in various roles in “The Nutcracker” at the Uphams Corner facility for the North Atlantic Ballet Company, which was owned by her parents.

“I worked my way up from party guest and angel to Sugar Plum Fairy,” she recalls.

This Saturday, Warren-Whitman returns to the Strand for the first time as a choreographer. Her piece “A Sum of Volition” is done to a Shostakovich quartet.

Another ex-Sugar Plum Fairy from the Strand is Janelle Gilchrist, who has put together “Classical Hop,” a hip hop/ballet mash-up set to more contemporary music by Young Mozart and Dirty Orchestra.

Warren-Whitman and Gilchrist are just two of the talented BalletRox faculty and guests premiering stylistically different, but thematically connected works. Each dance explores a facet of coming to terms with individuality and identity, sometimes within the context of maturation, other times exploring freedom within and outside of societal norms.

Former Boston Ballet dancer and founder and artistic director of BalletRox, Tony Williams, who created “Urban Nutcracker,” will be presenting several works, including a new piece featuring additional former Boston Ballet dancers Gianni DiMarco and Tai Jimenez. Former Boston Ballet dancer Lorraine Chapman will also be premiering a new piece, as will fellow BalletRox stars Lorraine Chapman, Gianni DiMarco and Rick Vigo.

Though most of the pieces are done to recorded music, the evening concludes with an original piece with music and choreography created by members of indie baroque-pop octet The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library.

The group bills itself as “the world’s only male-fronted, all-female band and likely the world’s only librarian-attired indie folk act. MJEML features intricately constructed, tongue-in-cheek tortuous songs with an emphasis on narrative.”

This unlikely collaboration is the result of BalletRox choreographer, teacher, and performer Jane Allard’s involvement as the band’s melodica and glockenspiel player. This final three-movement work, “Faith in
Free,” featuring original lyrical compositions by the quaintly attired octet, ties together the thematic explorations of the pieces in the show.

Allard says, “I wanted to explore the theme of freedom, somewhat inspired by the recent democracy movements throughout the world, but also our own struggle with what freedom means here in the US.”
“Out of the Box,” which begins at 7p.m. this Saturday, June 18, will also feature an appearance by the BalletRox YouthRox Dance Company. For more details call 617-524-4381 or find them on Facebook.

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