One of the east end’s most beloved holiday traditions is going virtual this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Canada’s Ballet Jörgen to present their annual production of “The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition” on various social media platforms this year rather than on stage at the Shenkman Arts Centre as they have done for the past 12 years.
|Oliver Burelle (left); Emilie Lecavalier (right); and Keradwyn Thompson (centre).
Every weekday between Dec. 7 and Dec. 22, fans of the Nutcracker will be able to go to canadasballetjorgen.ca/about/social-stream to see clips of their online production of “Twelve Days of the Nutcracker” for free. The clips can also be viewed on Ballet Jörgen's YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/balletjorgencanada.
Canada’s Ballet Jörgen decided to offer the virtual production “to lift spirits after a bad year,” says spokesperson Stephen Word.
Because Ballet Jörgen is not charging visitors, the budget for the production has been kept relatively low and the dancers have been asked to make or use old costumes.
“They’ve been told to get creative.” says Word.
Every day, fans can tune into Ballet Jörgen’s Youtube, Instagram or Facebook social media platforms to see a different scene from the Nutcracker play out.
Three of the dancers in the virtual pro-duction are from the Cumbrae School of Dance in Orléans. They are: Keradwyn Thompson, 13; Emilie Lecavalier, 13; and Ollie Burelle, 9.
All three dancers auditioned using the Zoom app, which also how they are learning their parts.
The clips that will make up the “Twelve Days of The Nutcracker” will be comprised of the dancers doing their parts in remote locations which will be pieced together to form the dance.
This will be Keradwyn’s fifth appearance in the holiday classic. She has been cast as one of the school children and will appear in the Dec. 17 performance.
When asked how she felt about the production going virtual, Keradwyn said that she was “really excited”. “It’s a new experience,” she said.
This is Emilie’s first appearance in the Ballet Jorgen production, but not her first Nutcracker. Emilie danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada the past two years. She will perform in the Dec. 17 clip as one of the school children along with Keradwyn.
Emilie says she is “grateful and honored” to have been chosen for a part in the unique production.
Ollie is the youngest of the three dancers from Cumbrae and the newest to ballet, but that didn’t stop him from earning a spot in the production.
“I am excited and happy to be in the Nutcracker,” Ollie said when asked about being chosen as one of the frogs who will appear in the Dec. 21 clip.
All three dancers say they plan to audition for next year’s production which will hope-fully return to the Shenkman. Emilie’s dream is to one day dance in the lead role as Clara.
“I will certainly be in the audition room again next year,” says Emilie.