The Alberta Ballet is taking on Tchaikovsky’s traditional tale, The Nutcracker, at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium. This much-loved holiday story has inspired imagination since that magical December in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
This year, these 120 performers put their own twist on the winter classic, and it is stellar! The scene is set when you walk into the lobby. Christmas trees of various kinds (one made completely out of ballet shoes) adorn every direction you look. The Snow Queen with her sleigh was on display and greeting the patrons while dazzling ballerinas did a meet and greet with photo ops. It was a taste of things to come, and it was like champagne, glittering, and gorgeous.
In no time at all, the audience makes their way into the theatre to settle in their seats. The lights gradually dim, and a gentle melody sounds out from the orchestra pit. It brings a sense of warmth and safety in the darkness. But the blackness evaporates when the lights shine, and the music becomes livelier. You are whisked into an authentic Russian Christmas scene and are introduced to the dancers. The magic begins in an opulent living room filled with festive cheer. Children are playing, and the adults are socializing, all while making the ballet itself seem more real. It’s like reliving your childhood Christmases but on a stage.
The music clearly does the talking in this production while the dancers bring out the emotion of the tale. Even when the ballet takes a darker turn, the melodies were joyful and buoyant. A small child in the audience said, “That looks easy,” but we all can agree that how skilful these dancers are is nothing simple. Each movement from the performers seemed both effortless and surreal. The dance is so fluid and in sync with the music that it is like a moving dream.
The sets were bright and colourful like a cartoon set. As this speaks to families, you can see why the set designer created it to be this way. The costumes themselves were intricate and unexpected. Some of them looked as if they could be worn in real life.
To capture the magic of Christmas and to put it on stage is no small feat. Yet here at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium from December 15-24, you can see many wondrous surprises unfold. Thanks to the Alberta Ballet and the magical way they create this story, it is worth seeing not once but at least twice in a lifetime since it gets more magical every year. Bring your family and friends because everyone needs a little Christmas wonder this time of year.
Get tickets here!