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Nutcrackers in COVID-19 Land

Rachel Levitt and Nicole Decsey on the various variations of The Nutcracker springing up this year.

This year may have stolen a large chunk of holiday cheer, but something it hasn't taken is the tradition of The Nutcracker. Companies across the world are keeping the story alive in many forms. These are just some of our favourites.

The National Ballet of Canada Brings The Nutcracker to the Screen

This holiday season, The National Ballet of Canada in partnership with Cineplex will be making the beloved Christmas classic The Nutcracker available across the country. Plus, a bonus: Nutcracker in the City!

Since December 4th, a live performance of The Nutcracker captured in 2008 at the Four Seasons Centre featuring principal dancers Sonia Rodriguez as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Piotr Stanczyk as the Nutcracker has been available for streaming on the Cineplex website. It will also be possible to enjoy the full Nutcracker experience at more than 50 select Cineplex theatres across the country.

Enjoy this Christmas classic from the comfort of your own home by steaming on the Cineplex website at $29.99 or make a day out of it and go to a showing at a select Cineplex theatre at $14.95 for adults, $13.95 for seniors and $12.95 for children.

Now for our bonus…The Nutcracker in the City! The ballet’s Christmas hero the Nutcracker soldier visited iconic arts institutions and attractions throughout Toronto including the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. You may not be able to visit these attractions right now, but you can certainly enjoy watching the whimsical and talented Nutcracker animate them with grand jumps and turns! The Nutcracker in the City is available now on YouTube.

See below the first video in the series.

Miami City Ballet presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® in the Park

For our American readers, Miami City Ballet is bringing George Balanchine’s iconic adaptation of The Nutcracker to the great outdoors!

Snag a socially-distanced pod on the lawn of Downtown Doral Park and watch as the dancers transport you into a magical world through live performance, animation and video on a giant screen.

Pods are a maximum of four people, and prices range from $32-$72 USD. Full info here.

Ballet Jörgen Canada brings Nutcracker to Instagram

BJC’s The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition, takes the traditional heroine Clara through a land that isn’t of sweets or magic, but simply the striking Canadian landscape.

I saw this ballet live in 2013, and Jörgen’s unique choreography that blends classic technique with rich storytelling, character, and sometimes even humour never ceases to put a smile on my face.

Now you can enjoy 12 studio recorded excerpts of this production @canadasballetjorgen on Instagram for free, released Dec 7th through 22nd. What a holiday treat!

Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker on Netflix

The inspirational true story of how the dynamic sensation that is Debbie Allen created the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, and how it has evolved into an annual performance that grosses hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket revenue.

Packed with behind-the-scenes clips and interviews with students, faculty and alumni of Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) on how this experience shaped them well beyond just their studio training, the film is also full of eye popping clips of the original choreography.

Tackling the important themes of how race and classism can play a dark role in the dance world as well as the trials and tribulations of becoming a dancer, this doc definitely isn't all candy canes and sugar plums. What does add a hearty dose of sweetness though is how through hard work, perseverance and thick skin building, DADA alumni prove that they can conquer anything. A large part of that goes out to how Debbie Allen sets that example for them, making this a film that will resonate strongly with dance educators, along with dancers and choreographers.

Now available to watch on Netflix.

Not Quite Nutcracker on the Dance : Corps website

A holiday classic for all ages, The Nutcracker has a beautiful score composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and of course it is traditionally performed as a ballet. But it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a Nutcracker performance to Nutcracker music that is anything but the classic Nutcracker we are used to.

Being released just before Christmas on Dec 18th, Dance : Corps is releasing their newest series of dance films Not Quite Nutcracker. This alternate Nutcracker takes Tchaikovsky’s iconic music and pairs it with original contemporary choreography inspired by tarot cards. Yes, you read that correctly, tarot cards. And each piece will be presented in different videos available on the Dance : Corps website.

Pictures: 1 - Jordan Bache in Death, 2 - Hannah Robertson in The Moon, 3 – Sabina Schaffer in The Sun, 4 - Jasmine Huang and Antony Cheng in The Lovers, 5 - Nicole Decsey in The High Priestess

These potent songs carry a lot of meaning and history all on their own, as do the tarot cards. Pairing them together creates an exciting mix of symbolism and depth and it challenges the preconceptions of this timeless classic. Make sure you catch this Nutcracker with a twist and open your imagination to the possibilities of what the Nutcracker means to you!

A Dance Way of Life's Rachel Levitt and Nicole Decsey both have pieces being featured in this performance!

Nutcracker Films on Amazon Prime

There are so many choices here, from old stage performances to cartoons to live action. We've shortlisted some for you that are topping our watchlist.

Barbie in the Nutcracker

A beautiful animation that perfectly blends one of the most famous dolls in the world with one of the most famous ballets in the world.

Bloody Ballet

Horror flick meets Nutcracker? As far as I’m concerned, this is the ideal date night film to watch with my boyfriend who thought Nutcracker was a musical up until a month ago…

Bloody Ballet is also known as Fantasma.

Baryshnikov's Nutcracker

Not only did the iconic Mikhail Baryshnikov choreograph this 1977 version, he also dances in it with ballet superstar Gelsey Kirkland and the American Ballet Theatre.

Taking his own spin on the classic tale, Baryshnikov rearranges the order of some of the pieces and also creates a romance between the Nutcracker prince and heroine Clara.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Fireside Nutcracker

Taking things a step up is Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Fireside Nutcracker. Specially made during the pandemic to be enjoyed on screen, this is visually one the most realistic Nutcrackers of the year. In the behind-the-scenes pics, you can see the little soldiers and party goers wearing face masks as part of their costumes!

Thanks to their generous sponsors, PBT is able to offer free viewing access via YouTube from Dec 17th to 31st. Register here to receive the link.



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