Maple Ridge dancers Sarah Macdonald, left, and Ella Gormley are excited to take the stage with the Royal City Youth Ballet.

Spectacular Nutcracker ballet dances onto the ACT stage

Christmas tradition brings sumptuous sets, costumes, choreography and Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score

Canada’s longest-running youth performance of the Nutcracker ballet returns to Maple Ridge’s ACT Arts Centre Dec. 3, marking the start to the Christmas season for many.

Part of the Royal City Youth Ballet Company’s annual 20-show Nutcracker tour, audiences can choose from either the 1 or 4 p.m. performance by some of the Lower Mainland’s leading young dancers. The full-length ballet features sumptuous sets designed by Jean Claude Olivier and extravagant, colourful costumes by Chris Sinosich.

“The Nutcracker really is a cherished part of the holidays for so many people, not only for the timeless story and Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music, but also for the professional sets, choreography and costuming – it really is a breathtaking production,” notes board member Alex Schwartz.

The story

It’s Christmas Eve, a time when dreams can come true, and Clara receives a special gift of a large Nutcracker soldier. As she falls asleep with the Nutcracker in her arms, Clara dreams of her soldier in battle before he transports her by sleigh through the Land of Snow to the Land of Sweets, where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and people from far away lands.

From magical mice to the striking Nutcracker prince, the talented local dancers bring the story to life before the audience’s eyes.

Local talent

Two Maple Ridge dancers are among the more than 75 performers on stage this year.

Sarah Macdonald, in the roles of an Angel and a Soldier, attends Coquitlam’s Precision Dance Academy, while Ella Gormley, playing a Soldier and a Page, attends the Art of Dance Studio in Maple Ridge. Both girls have been dancing since they were three years old and are in their first year with the Royal City Youth Ballet.

Sharing big smiles after rehearsal, the girls agree that being part of their first Nutcracker with the company has been a lot of fun!

Following August auditions, rehearsals began in earnest in September, and the dancers are eager to share the rewards of the months of practice, working under Artistic Director Camilla Fishwick-Kellogg and Executive Producer Trisha Sinosich-Arciaga.

Founded in 1989, the non-profit Royal City Youth Ballet Company bridges the gap between dance schools and professional companies, creating performance opportunities for dedicated dancers through professional choreography, costumes, sets and lighting.

Nutcracker tickets are available through the ACT Arts Centre. For details about the remaining Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island dates, visit royalcityyouthballet.org

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