The Nutcracker Dances Across Canada
By Charlotte Bumstead
Today, it is recognized by most and enjoyed by many. But when it premiered on stage at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on Dec.18 1982, its response was ineffective. Come the mid-20th century, the popularity of the dance took an enormous turn. The Nutcracker soon became a renowned ballet masterpiece; performed by countless dance companies around the world, and especially admired during the holiday season. This winter, Canadians can catch numerous unique features of Tchaikovsky’s original Russian composition, as 10 different productions will be danced all across the country.
Alberta Ballet performs a Nutcracker-spinoff first produced in 2008 by Edmund Stripe. A change in setting moves the audience from Germany to Imperial Russia. The stage that once displayed Klara’s house instead takes on a magical Russian winter landscape with arctic wolves and a Snow Czarina. Performance destinations and dates are: Edmonton, Dec.10-12; Calgary, Dec.17-23; Vancouver, Dec.29-Jan.1.
The Group of Seven Nutcracker is to be performed by Ballet Jorgen Canada. This ballet, created by Bengt Jorgen in 2008, translates the original story into a Canadian version—travelling by canoe. It is showing in: Toronto, Dec. 8-9; Chatham, Dec. 11-12; Brantford, Dec. 15; Ottawa, Dec.17-21; Windsor, Dec. 23; Kitchener-Waterloo, Dec.28; Markham, Dec. 29-30.
Ballet Kelowna, otherwise known as the Canadian School of Ballet, holds to tradition with a performance based on the original. Choreographers Fernand Nault, Lori Larson, Mel Brown and David LaHay work with six professional dancers and 150 ballet students for the show. You can see it in: Kelowna, Dec.9-12; Vernon, Dec. 17-18; Kamloops, Dec.22-23.