Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers Alanna McAdie and Yosuke Mino will help bring the classic tale of The Nutcracker to life with the addition of Canadian elements such as polar bears during a performance at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre Dec. 5-6 at 7:30 p.m.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents The Nutcracker in Nanaimo

Royal Winnipeg Ballet respects Russian traditions while adding Canadian cultural elements to The Nutcracker.

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents the classic tale of The Nutcracker that both respects the Russian traditions of the piece and pays homage to Canadian culture.

The company combines the graceful movements of ballet with a good old-fashioned hockey game on a pond.

Audience members can also expect to see the battle on Parliament Hill and the Mounted Police amongst Dieter’s squadron of toy soldiers.

Over the years, more Canadian elements have been added to the show. Two years ago, polar bears were added to Act 1.

“They’re as cute as can be in their costumes,” said André Lewis, artistic director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

This year, the company added reindeer to the performance.

Audience members can expect to see traditional elements such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Waltz of the Snowflakes, Dewdrop and her Cavalier and Clara fighting the Mouse King.

Lewis said the classic tale evokes a sense of holiday spirit.

“It brings about a sense of the festive season and includes beautiful festive music of Christmas,” said Lewis.

The adaptations by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet also allow for a teenager dancing the part of Clara. Lewis said he likes having the role of Clara have more technically demanding movements instead of her sitting on the side or skipping across the stage.

Many scenes in The Nutcracker strike a chord with Lewis.

“I love it all. I think it is all well put together. It’s so romantic. It’s so Christmas,” said Lewis.

He was instrumental in creating the show in 1999. Lewis was inspired by a German version of The Nutcracker by John Neumeier and a Dutch version, which both incorporated cultural elements into the show.

Since joining the company, Lewis has commissioned several works including a full-length version of The Handmaid’s Tale, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel in 2013.

The Nutcracker shows Dec. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Theatre. The show is part of the Port Theatre’s Spotlight series and includes a pre-show chat at 6:45 p.m. in the Harmac room.

Tickets are $68 for adults, $64 members and $25 for students available in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or online at www.porttheatre.com.

For more information, please go to www.rwb.org.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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