Donald Byrd choreography constructs "beauty" as a function of black Atlantic performance practice, as an act that may be socially progressive in its intentions, and an action that may hold material consequences for its performers and audiences. Born securely in the visibly black middle class of the 1950s, Byrd has participated in a concert dance tradition framed by the proscenium stage. More important than these obvious compositional strategies, though, is the intense finish that Byrd encourages from the dancers. For Byrd, "beauty" often comes to be tied to the triumph of physical technique, or excellence in form. Byrd's revisioning of The Nutcracker begins from a startling narrative inversion: on Christmas Eve in a mythic Harlem brownstone, Clara, a recently widowed grandmother, waits alone for her family and friends to arrive. Byrd's project to re/make classical ballets proposes an obviously politicized gesture to align Euro-Western dance classicism, and its unavoidable connotations of proportion, formalism, and "beauty", with Africanist aesthetics.