Royal Winnipeg ballet costume designer Paul Daigle created all new characters for this year’s Nutcracker Ballet performance.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Victoria Symphony Orchestra team up for Victoria premiere

Polar bears en pointe, Nutcracker brings Canadian flavour to stage

More than 35 young locals will make their dance dreams a reality as they hit the stage with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in the Nutcracker.

This is the first time that the treasured holiday classic, danced to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, will be presented by the RWB in Victoria.

“We’ve never brought it here before, in part, because the production is so large and we have a small stage,” says Dance Victoria executive producer Stephen White.

The company has created a smaller set and will also perform in Nanaimo and Vancouver.

“It’s pretty exciting to have them for the first time,” says White. “The show is chock-full of Canadiana, The RCMP, Parliament Hill, it’s unique that way.

The story takes audiences on a wondrous adventure with Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The show will be accompanied by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.

“Even if you’ve seen the Nutcracker a million times, you’ll still be moved by the great musical score. It adds so much to the experience,” he says.

More than 80 local children auditioned for parts in the Nutcracker and 36 young talented dancers were chosen. They’ve been rehearsing their parts for weeks and are eager to perform.

“They are rehearsing every weekend and are ready to be integrated into the piece when the company arrives. We’ll have some 30 kids, 30 ballet dancers, 30 musicians and a massive crew – there will be more than 150 people making sure the show goes on. It’s really quite remarkable,” says White.

Twelve of those children will be debuting new polar bear costumes designed by Nutcracker costume designer Paul Daigle.

“The Winnipeg’s wardrobe department is amazing,” says Daigle. “The Royal Winnipeg has an old-school wardrobe department that many organizations can’t afford to run any more.”

Daigle designed all the costumes for the show in the late 1990s. “It’s set in 1913, just before the First World War. When the production originally debuted there was no touchstone for the era. Now Downton Abbey is set in that period and the dresses and menswear in the first act are just like those you’d see on Downton Abbey.”

The little polar bears were designed with parents in mind, so each child’s face is visible. “The dancing in them isn’t complicated, so I could design them to be a little cuter, more like an authentic polar bear,” says Daigle.

Sumptuous costumes and sets make this classic sparkle, delighting audiences of all ages with its beauty and splendour.

See the Nutcracker at the Royal Theatre Dec. 5 to 7. Go to rmts.bc.ca for showtimes and ticket information.

 

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