Monday, December 11, 2017

Alberta Ballet brings the magic of The Nutcracker back to Victoria

December 2, 2015 by Oriana Smy, contributing writer

The Nutcracker may be a mainstay of December nowadays, but when it first premiered in 1892 in Russia, it was not well received. However, the performance has come a very long way since then; now, it’s coming back to Victoria, just in time for Christmas.

“Every year I see how important and precious it is that [composer] Tchaikovsky left us this legacy,” says Jean Grand-Maitre, artistic director of the Alberta Ballet, who are bringing the show to town. “There is no better gift than to introduce children to the arts at a young age. We should keep the magic alive in children’s hearts.”

The Nutcracker is a tale is about a doll that comes to life and takes a young girl on a magical journey. There are sword fights and dancing as the pair takes the audience on an imaginative adventure.

“I love to wait in the lobby to see everybody come in, and all the children are already dancing as they come through the door,” says Grand-Maitre. “I think it’s the coming together of family that inspires me the most.”

It’s become a holiday tradition, and this year is no exception: The Nutracker is coming to a Victoria stage in December (photo by Yin Yi).

It’s become a holiday tradition, and this year is no exception: The Nutracker is coming to a Victoria stage in December (photo by Yin Yi).

The Alberta Ballet is excited to be working and collaborating with the Victoria Symphony again, says Grand-Maitre, although the union wasn’t without its initial challenges.

“They are the ones who first approached us many years ago, and we said, ‘I don’t think we can fit you in the pit; it’s a pretty big score.’ And they said, ‘Try us!’”

Grand-Maitre is excited to also incorporate over 80 kids from Victoria schools into the performance. The children will be playing various roles, including mice, soldiers, and, well, children.

“It’s really a connection to bring the community together,” says Grand- Maitre.

Even though it initially wasn’t a huge success, The Nutcracker today stands for something pretty big, says Grand-Maitre.

“It’s about coming together to experience something inspiring and beautiful,” says Grand-Maitre. “The dancing is not only inspiring for children, but for adults to appreciate too, because it’s very technically demanding classical ballet. And so it’s really about inspiring people and to keep seeing the best in all of us.”

The Nutcracker
December 4 to December 6
$29 and up, Royal Theatre
rmts.bc.ca

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