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Royal Winnipeg Ballet

December 2, 2015

The Nutcracker

NAC Southam Hall, Ottawa

(Performances December 2 through 5, 7 p.m., plus Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30 p.m.)

Photography by David Cooper

Photography by David Cooper

If you’re in the Canadian spirit this Christmas season, why not take in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB)’s version of The Nutcracker ballet! With its uniquely Canadian touches, the RWB Nutcracker brings all the magic of the original E.T.A. Hoffmann tale alive, but with dancing polar bear cubs, Royal Canadian Mounted Police dolls, boys playing street hockey, a snowy sky adorned with the Northern Lights, a Parliament Hill backdrop and even kids bundled up in Bay blankets.

Generally reflecting the German and Russian heritage of the original story, this whimsical and extravagant RWB version takes us back to 1913 Canada, with relatives arriving from Montreal, a boyfriend in military uniform (the First World War is a half a year away) and the wonder of a first-ever electrically lit Christmas tree.

All the usual components of the two-act Tchaikovsky ballet are there – the magical night-before-Christmas party bustle, replete with murmuring mice and gathering guests, the mysterious Drosselmeier, the terrifying Mouse King and his menacing army of sword-carrying mice, the come-to-life squadron of toy soldiers battling in the shimmering moonlight, the magical snowy forest (of pine trees of course) and the Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Photography by Bruce Monk

Photography by Bruce Monk

RWB’s artistic director André Lewis says the RWB interpretation of the Nutcracker, choreographed by Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon, is meant to be nostalgic, and family-oriented.

Some 64 young dancers from the Ottawa-Gatineau region will join the RWB troupe as mice, angels and party guests. The National Arts Centre Orchestra will accompany all performances.

An hour before curtain, the NAC will host a Sugar Plum Party with crafts, dress-up and other activities for children attending the show.

See the NAC website for information on tickets.

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From → Ballet

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