Three Nutcrackers On Holiday Stages

December 4, 2013

Everyone has an appetite for sugarplums-whatever they are. (They sound adorable! They dance in your head!) This winter, three varieties compete for your favour. Scored by the VSO, Alberta Ballet's take (Dec. 28 to 31, Queen Elizabeth Theatre) is opulence incarnate-not surprising, since Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown spent a million dollars on the performance's lavish Imperial Russia-themed set and costumes. But backdrop is nothing without bustle, which is why the ballet recruited over 100 kids from local dance schools to fill out its cast.

Goh Ballet and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra perform with an international cast including Royal Danish Ballet's Gudrun Bojesen and Ulrik Birkkjær, who make their city debuts in the principal roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier Prince (Dec. 14 to 22, The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts).

Oh, you've attended both versions in previous years? Then put yourself in veteran James Gnam's pointe shoes: James (Dec. 4 to 7, Firehall Arts Centre) is the autobiography story of a dancer who has performed The Nutcracker over 300 times and is understandably feeling a little Black Swan about it. A palate cleanser after the more sugary chestnuts, James darkly confronts this touchstone work's cultural relevance.

Ticketmaster.ca, Firehallartscentre.ca

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