CLASSIC TALE – Piper Lavergne plays the Rat King in this year’s rendition of The Nutcracker. Performances run Dec. 13th – 14th at Red Deer College.

CLASSIC TALE – Piper Lavergne plays the Rat King in this year’s rendition of The Nutcracker. Performances run Dec. 13th – 14th at Red Deer College.

Magical tradition of The Nutcracker at RDC

There is little else in the way of theatrical entertainment that says ‘Christmas’ quite like The Nutcracker.

There is little else in the way of theatrical entertainment that says ‘Christmas’ quite like The Nutcracker.

After more than 100 years, Tchaikovsky’s stunning musical score, set against the story of an epic battle between mice and toy soldiers, still draws holiday crowds. Over the past several years, it’s turned into a sparkling annual tradition at Red Deer College as well.

Performances run Dec. 13th at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 14th at 1:30 p.m. on the College Arts Centre mainstage.

The Nutcracker is based on a book called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, published by German writer E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816.

Hoffman, a German writer, composer, caricaturist, and painter was known for his stories in which supernatural characters reveal people’s hidden secrets.

Of course, there’s the sweeping, elegant score written by Tchaikovsky as well. He began work on the project in early 1892 before beginning a tour of the United States, completing it later that summer.

Clara receives a cherished Nutcracker from her mysterious Uncle Drosselmier.

After everyone has gone to bed for the evening, strange things begin to happen. Clara watches as rats and soldiers battle for victory.

She is guided through falling snow and taken to the Land of Sweets where sweets from around the world dance in her honour.

Many versions of the story have been published as children’s books, and it’s been said that in his stories Hoffmann combined wild flights of imagination with vivid and convincing examinations of human character and psychology.

As a ballet, The Nutcracker made its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in December of 1892.

“Every year, I like to put a twist on the show in some way – sometimes it is in the little things like choreography or costumes and some years it is a theme – like this year,” explains director Tania Strader.

“Without giving too much away, the party scene is very traditional Victorian complete with some new costumes, however it is within Clara’s dream that the big changes in theme have taken place. Uncle Drosselmier has brought a new twist to the Victorian era Christmas party and this twist has changed Clara’s dream from the ordinary to the extraordinary!

“Her dream is a little more edgy than what her Victorian Age thinking would ever imagine,” said Strader, who has been involved with the production for about 15 years and has been directing it for more than 10 years now.

Strader said the classic production continues to draw audiences because of a sense of ‘timelessness’ about it. Plus, it’s just intrinsically magical.

“I think it is as Christmas as the tree. There is a certain magic about it that gives the audiences newfound excitement and hope during the season,” she explains.

“Younger audiences can relate to it because it is about a young girl and her dreams. The older audiences may relate to it as when times were more simple as well as remembering when dreams took them to places they had never been before.”

This year, there are 65 dancers from across Central Alberta involved in the production.

“Their ages range from five to 25,” she said. “There are so many returning dancers that they offer the new dancers in the show a sense of guidance and love for the ballet. The newer dancers look up to the returning dancers; they hear the stories from productions in the past and they look forward to creating their own.”

Of course, the musical score to The Nutcracker is half the show’s charm.

“Personally, I absolutely love it. It seems like a perfect fit to the dancing and choreography as well, which is so interesting.

“Every piece has so many nuances to it that it challenges me to create new life within the music,” she said. “Every year, I am also challenged to create a production that is unique as the dancers that sign up to be involved,” she added. “And every year, I form a deeper love for the ballet. I want to create more meaning within the choreography.

“I am constantly searching for the answers to why something is happening – there has to be a reason why, for example, that within Clara’s dream she sees dancing sugar plums and gingerbread kids!”

Tickets for all performances are available through the Black Knight Ticket Centre by calling 403-755-6626 or by visiting www.bkticketcentre.ca.

editor@reddeerexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Most Read