Created in 1991, while Mark Morris was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium, The Hard Nut
is the last of twelve pieces choreographed in Brussels and one of Morris' most ambitious works to date with over 60 set pieces and props, 116 costume changes, a 48-member orchestra and children's choir of 30, as well as 32 dancers and 48 members in the stage crew. Based on the work of Charles Burns and the book by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
, Mark Morris' The Hard Nut is "formally dazzling, uproariously funny. It deepens our love of the original and makes us smile and marvel at the outrageous originality of Morris’s genius in retelling it.” (San Francisco Chronicle
Dallas McMurray, from El Cerrito, California, began dancing at age four, studying jazz, tap, and acrobatics with Katie Maltsberger and ballet with Yukiko Sakakura. He received a B.F.A. in dance from the California Institute of the Arts. McMurray has performed with the Limón Dance Company in addition to performing in works by Jiří Kylián, Alonzo King, Robert Moses, and Colin Connor. He joined MMDG as an apprentice in 2006 and became a company member in 2007.
Sam Black is from Berkeley, California, where he began studying tap at the age of nine with Katie Maltsberger. He received his B.F.A. in Dance from Purchase College and also studied at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie in The Netherlands. He has performed with David Parker, Takehiro Ueyama, and Nelly van Bommel, and currently teaches MMDG master classes and Dance for PD®. He first appeared with MMDG in 2005, and became a company member in 2007.
Nicole Sabella is originally from Clearwater, Florida, where she studied at the Academy of Ballet Arts and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School under Suzanne B. Pomerantzeff. In 2009, She graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, earning her B.F.A. in Modern Dance Performance and the “Outstanding Performance in Modern Dance” Award. She was a performer with Zane Booker’s Smoke, Lilies, and Jade Arts Initiative. Nicole first performed with MMDG in 2013 and became a company member in 2015.