Swingin' at the Club Sweets


Slicing yourself a piece of cake for a show that promises to be both the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow? If you’re a little lost in the lingo then brace yourself for a new twist on a time-tested holiday classic. The Studio, Savannah’s premier dance school, presents Swinging at Club Sweets—an inventive flapper-era rendition of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

Studio director and lead choreographer Veronica Moretti Niebuhr explains her inspiration for the fes- tive parody. "When I opened the school I wanted to do a December performance, and I noticed that there were about five or six Nutcrackers playing around town,” she says. “I just thought we needed something fresh that hadn't been done before. I also wanted to showcase the incredible local talents that we have here in Savannah.”

Now in its third year, this unique version follows Minnie (inspired by the Cab Calloway standard “Minnie the Moocher”), twin sister of the ballet’s original protagonist, Clara, to an enchanting speakeasy suitably named Club Sweets. It’s there Minnie meets a colorful array of char- acters with names like Smoky, Lola, Cookie and even Mr. Sweets himself, played by stage legend Roger Moss. The dancers, who range in age from five to sixteen, began rehearsing in October. Adorned in exquisite hand- made costumes, they give new groove to the original suite’s Chinese, Spanish, French and Arabian Dances. Music for the production was arranged by composer Peter Tavalin and is truly evocative of that sultry, jazz- soaked era. A seven-piece ensemble directed by Ricardo Ochoa will get your toe tapping to the sounds of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, among others. Paired with the usual excitement of the holiday season this production will leave you with more than just sugar plum fairies dancing in your head.