A&E » Arts

The performance of the season

The return of the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy



What: Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker

When: Friday, Dec. 19 to Monday, Dec. 22 (various times)

Where: MY Millennium Place

Admission: $22.50, children, $35 students and seniors, $37.50 adults

It’s as festive as wrapping paper and bows, eggnog and turkey dinner — The Nutcracker ballet, with its pirouetting and plié-ing Fritz, Clara and Sugar Plum Fairy, is symbolic of Christmas to many. And for yet another season, the Goh Ballet Academy is bringing its interpretation of the classic performance to Whistler, for four days of performances at MY Millennium Place.

Artistic director and founder, Choo Chiat Goh, started the renowned Goh Ballet Academy in 1978. Born in Singapore, Goh studied ballet at the Royal Ballet School in England, and then at the age of 17, moved to China to study with a Russian master. He also studied with the Peking Dance Academy, and for 20 years, was the principal dancer of the Central Ballet Company, which later became the Beijing National Ballet Company.

After a self-described “cultural revolution,” Goh moved to Canada, where he decided to found his own small dance academy in the basement of a building. The small school has evolved into a world-renowned ballet academy, attracting young talent from around the world — America, Australia, Spain, and Hong Kong.

Today, the Academy includes a junior school, offers adult classes, and boasts an impressive roster of professional dancers.

“My Academy is split up in two divisions,” Goh explained. “One is a professional division, one is a general division.”

This has been a special year for the Goh Ballet Academy, as it celebrated its 30th anniversary in the summertime with a performance, which included a modern piece by a graduate student, Dorothy Masaki, a version of Don Quixote, and other classical dances.

“The audience, the parents, all of the friends were very happy to see the wonderful performance that we held in June,” Goh said.

But the performance they are bringing back to Whistler is a timeless Christmas classic — the tale of The Nutcracker, which the Academy’s professional troupe has been performing for almost 10 years.

The Academy strives to introduce new interpretations of classic, full-length productions. The Nutcracker is one such performance.

“We are using a lot of different dance in The Nutcracker,” he said, pointing out that all of the child dancers from the academy have also been included in the performance.