Professor Josette Wiggan brings holiday spirit to the White House

January 9, 2024

Dorrance Dance in “The Nutcracker Suite” | Photo by Christopher Duggan

First Lady Jill Biden was intent on spreading cheer this holiday season. One idea drew inspiration from a new performance co-choreographed by USC Kaufman professor Josette Wiggan.

Wiggan, a member of the New York City-based Dorrance Dance, is part of the creative team behind a tap version of The Nutcracker, which recently had a run at the end of November/beginning of December at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The performance was billed as “explosive tap dance meets your favorite holiday classic,” set to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s interpretive version of the famous Tchaikovsky score.

Like many performances that wind up on stage at the Kennedy Center, Dorrance Dance’s The Nutcracker Suite found synergy with holiday happenings at the White House. It subsequently led to a viral video posted to the First Lady’s Instagram account of tappers galloping throughout the Executive Mansion in bright sequined costumes, filling rooms of the sounds of tapping shoes.