The Nutcracker is coming to Port Alberni this month for one night only.
Each year, River-Port Danceworks—which includes Stage West School of Performing Arts in Port Alberni—puts on a production of The Nutcracker in three Vancouver Island communities.
Auditions took place in May, and dancers from Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Alberni have been working together since the summer to bring the production to life. The Port Alberni show will feature 50 local dancers, aged five and up.
“We started in September with the studio kids,” said Jen Soo, owner of River-Port Danceworks Ltd. “We’ve been thinking about it pretty much since the last one ended.”
This year’s production will include professional guests, Marsha Kwan and Giovanni Giordano, who will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince. The pair both have extensive performance experience and training and they both currently live in Vancouver.
Two students from the Victoria Academy of Ballet’s Post Secondary Bridge Program, Ayana Miyamoto and Erick Aguirre, will dance the roles of the Snow Queen and Snow King. This partnership allows professional students to get some of their first paid jobs with River-Port Danceworks.
“For me, this is my favourite project,” said Soo. “It’s great to be part of a production that’s bigger than our studio.”
The Nutcracker is a classical ballet that tells the story of a little girl whose nutcracker comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against an evil Mouse King. This year will be the fifth annual production of The Nutcracker put on by River-Port Danceworks.
“We’ve got some new characters we’re introducing,” said Soo. “The company will be a little bit different. It’s the same classic Nutcracker story, but we try to put in some surprises.”
Vladimir Pereira from Ilha Academy of Ballet will also be returning to reprise his role as Mother Ginger.
“That’s everybody’s favourite part,” Soo laughed.
Port Alberni is the second stop on the tour. The Nutcracker will take place at the Alberni District Secondary School Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at Funk Trunk and Finishing Touches, as well as online at www.brownpapertickets.com. There will also be tickets available at the door—as long as they haven’t sold out.