Nutcracker comes to Whistler 

Christmas tradition comes alive at MY Millenium Place

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: The Nutcracker ballet

When: Dec. 22-23, 4 & 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $17.50-$37.50

One of the world’s most famous Christmas traditions has finally spun into Whistler, with the Goh Ballet staging a version of the Nutcracker Ballet specifically designed for Whistler during four shows at MY Millennium Place Dec. 22 and 23.

“The show fits perfectly with whole role of MY Place; we only exist to help the community,” said general manager Dennis Marriott. “It brings dance to Whistler, which will hopefully help Soul Funktion and the gym club by having their students be positively influenced by seeing professional dancers and having the opportunity to see a professional show without having to drive down to Vancouver.”

Professional dance is relatively non-existant in Whistler’s cultural scene and Marriott hopes the Nutcracker will be the first of several dance productions to come, building on MY Place’s goal to infuse the 250-seat theatre with more theatre and dance productions in addition to its regular concert and family entertainment lineup.

The Goh Ballet is a wonderful start to its efforts. The internationally renowned school produces dancers who move on to perform with some of the most prestigious companies in the world, including the National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet.

The Goh Ballet performs a yearly production of the Nutcracker in Vancouver with more than 100 dancers gracing the Ford Centre theatre stage. Fitting the production onto MY Place’s intimate stage (about one third the size of the Ford) was a challenge, but through the use of narrative, sets transformed into projections and a reduced cast, the Goh have designed a production to especially suit Whistler’s needs.

“Because the stage is not as large as Vancouver’s, there are not as many dancers on stage and we use multi-media components and storytelling to help move the show along,” said Choochiat Goh, artistic director of the ballet company. “But people will feel like they experienced the Nutcracker fully.”

All of the most treasured Nutcracker moments will be there: the story of Clara, who unwraps the Nutcracker at Christmas, along with a journey into a magical place of wonder and beauty. All of the classic scenes will be staged, including the Christmas party scene, Sugar Plum Fairy dance, Dance of the Flowers and the snowflake dance. Tchaikovsky’s dramatic score will come to life through the revised 33-dancer company decked out in costumes ranging from beaded short snowflake tutus to the grandiose Sugar Plum Fairy’s star-studded gown.

Already all four performances are almost sold out. Marriott is extremely heartened by the show of excitement and support for professional dance in Whistler.

“We hope it will become the signature event for A Whistler Family Holiday,” he said of the resort-wide holiday festival. “It adds a great wow factor. It’s not just great snow, but look at the incredible things that can be done off the mountain as well.”

Tickets are $37.50 for adults and $17.50 for children under 12 years old. Special student/senior and matinee prices are also available. For tickets, call 604-935-8410 or visit ticketmaster.ca.

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