What: The Nutcracker
When: Dec. 20-23
Where: MY Millennium Place
The Goh Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker: The Dream of Clara returns to Whistler Dec. 20 to 23 at MY Millennium Place with an entirely revised second act under the direction of choreographer Eddy Toussaint, who joined the Goh Ballet Academy this fall.
Now there is even more reason to make the Nutcracker ballet an annual family tradition, not only will the critically-acclaimed ballet company inspire an appreciation for the ballet and share the beloved story of a little girl and her nutcracker traveling into a magical land of sugar plum faeries, but it will also introduce the work of one of Canada’s most legendary choreographers and advocates of classical ballet.
“The Nutcracker is the ambassador of dance,” Toussaint said. “This is where a lot of children decide to have contact with the arts. It inspires them to get involved with the arts, whether dance, music or the visual arts. The Nutcracker is very important.”
The Nutcracker tradition dances throughout Europe and North America. It is one of the few classical ballet traditions that managed to survive a culture more fascinated by rock concerts and theatrical circus acts than pointe-shoe traditions.
Classics such as Giselle and Swan Lake might feel too far removed for someone who has never attended the ballet, but the jovial holiday spirit of the Nutcracker ensures ballet is accessible to anyone. The Nutcracker is often children’s first introduction to the ballet.
Toussaint’s personal goal is to ensure Canadian classical ballet retains its identity and presence in the global arts world, and that children have the support and education to contribute to it.
Toussaint is most famously known as founder of Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal and The Ballet de Montreal as well as artistic director of The Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Ballet Eddy Tousaint and The National Ballet of Moravia-Silaisia (Czech Republic). He’s also a recipient of the Golv Medal for choreography at the Helsinki International Competition. He has choreographed more than 100 ballets worldwide.
So why has a man who crafted international ballet stars such as Sophi Bissonnete, Louis Robitaille and Denis Delude turned to teaching and choreographing in Vancouver? For the love of carrying on his classical ballet crusade and passing his love of onto children.
Working with children has always been a part of his career.
During his work with the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, he directed Dance: The Next Generation, a program that trained talented, economically disadvantaged children.
He also founded a school for disadvantaged children in his hometown of Haiti where children are housed, fed, schooled and taught ballet.
Toussaint now is the artistic advisor of the Goh Ballet Academy, and director of development for the Goh Ballet Company, now comprised of both paid professionals and students.
More than 20 dancers will take to the stage in Whistler to perform an adaptation of the Nutcracker modified especially for MY Millennium Place’s cozy stage. Soul Funktion dancers will make guest appearances as chorus members.
Join in this Christmas tradition of tutus, pointe shoes, pas de deuxs and storytelling shared over six performances. Last year, all four performances sold out weeks in advance, so purchase tickets early.
Tickets for adults are $45 for evening performances and $39 for matinees. Special student, senior, family and child rates are available. For tickets, call 604-935-8410 or visit ticketmaster.ca.
The Goh Ballet Company will also present four performances of Divertissement at MY Millennium Place, Dec. 28 and 29. Tickets are available through Millennium Place and ticketmaster.