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Tuesday, December 4

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Alberta Ballet presents its Nutrcracker.

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The Nutcracker draws on more human resources than any show in Alberta Ballet’s season with up to 120 people in the cast. That includes around 35 members of the company, some 60 kids and more understudies. Slightly smaller versions of the Edmonton Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic are conducted by music director Peter Dala. Some dance roles get a custom tweaking.

 

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An interview with Jordanian ballet student Rabee Shrouf.

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Shrouf, who dances in his spare time while studying languages and translation at university, is one of few male dancers in Jordan, where his hobby often carries a social stigma for men.

“Why did I choose ballet? Because it is a very difficult art form, one of the most difficult in the world,” he said.

 

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A video interview with the photographer Matthew Murphy.

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See Murphy talk about that and more in the latest installment of From Ballet to Broadway.

 

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A review of the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker by Mark Pullinger for Bachtrack.

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But rather than Clara’s show – or the Sugar Plum Fairy’s – Wright’s version places Drosselmeyer right at the centre. Drawing on the darker elements of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s creepy tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, he creates a back-story to frame his production. In the prologue, Drosselmeyer mourns Hans Peter, his nephew, who was turned into a nutcracker by the Mouse Queen’s curse. Gary Avis immediately draws our sympathy and commands the stage with cape-twirling panache. Even now, seeing Avis dance the role for the umpteenth time, there are little details to notice afresh, such as when he inspects the toys the children have been given – the rabbit drummer, the toy soldiers – and you spot Drosselmeyer conjure up the idea of how he can draw Clara into saving the Nutcracker’s life – thus breaking the curse – by staging a battle. Details like this bring a character to life and Avis is a past master. 

 

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