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
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
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.