The Shell-Shocked Nut Performance Workshop

An alternative adaptation of The Nutcracker, set in the East Village, inspired by true stories.

ShellShockedNut 12-16-15 w r 142



Group 1 (age 10-18)  1:30-2:30

Young dancers (age 5-9) 2:30-3:30

Performance: Saturday, Dec. 17th

@ La MaMa’s Winter Wonderland

Participation requires mandatory rehearsals in Oct. Nov. & Dec.

$125 participation fee.


The Story

Upending the classic story of the Nutcracker, the show follows a war veteran and a wandering child on a journey through iconic and everyday spots in the East Village – stopping at Tompkins Square Park, Economy Candy Store, the aisles of a corner bodega, the interior of an East Village apartment and beyond.

The Background

The show was originally conceived in the week after Superstorm Sandy. It began as an informal studio showing of sections of the Nutcracker with the students of East Village Dance Project, a non-profit dance development program in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The process of creating a performance with the students and sharing it with the community provided a chance for release, celebration and creation of positive energy during a difficult time.

As a former ballerina, Artistic Director of East Village Dance Project, Martha Tornay, danced in countless Nutcracker performances and was not interested in creating yet another traditional version. As the daughter and sister of war veterans, Martha witnessed the trauma war elicits in soldiers, even long after returning home. Drawing on this experience, she decided to use the structure of the Nutcracker to tell a more personal story.

What started out as an informal showing, intending to lift spirits during a stressful time, has now grown into a full-scale production, involving both students and a fabulous team of professional artists! Our first “official” performance premiered at La MaMa Ellen Stewart Theatre in NYC in January 2014 to a packed house. We are so excited to once again be working with such a huge and hugely talented group of artists, and to be able to include a wide range of creative voices in the production.

The Collaborators

What started out as an informal showing has now grown into a full-scale production, involving both students and a fabulous team of professional artists. The professionals involved in this production come from as close as the East Village community and as far as New Mexico and Thailand!

2015 Press!

NY Times

EV Grieve


2014 Press!

2014 Metro NY article

2014 Time Out Critic's Pick