Festive ballet

Families are in for a treat this Christmas as the ROYAL NEW ZEALAND BALLET prepares for a magical season of The Nutcracker.

Christmas comes but once a year, and for the hundreds of young dancers from around New Zealand who will join the Royal New Zealand Ballet on stage for The Nutcracker, Christmas 2018 will be truly unforgettable.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will be presenting The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcracker throughout New Zealand, opening in Wellington on 31 October, playing in Dunedin on 17 and 18 November, Christchurch on 23 and 24 November and concluding in Auckland on 15 December.

Excitement spread throughout the country when the call went out for children to join the show. Nearly 700 dancers from 95 schools auditioned for this year’s production, which is the national ballet’s first tour of the timeless Christmas story since 2010. Auditions were held throughout New Zealand in June and July. Making the cut to appear on stage with the performers are 90 children from 14 dance schools across Christchurch and Dunedin – varying in age from nine to 17.

“Seeing a performance of The Nutcracker creates special memories and family traditions. It’s an enchanting ballet that the entire family can enjoy year after year. The Nutcracker shares the joy of the holidays and reminds us, whether we are young or old, that to dream is the most magical gift of all,” says RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.

World-renowned American choreographer Val Caniparoli’s production, unique to the Royal New Zealand Ballet, opens with a mid-1800s Christmas Eve scene. Tchaikovsky’s fairytale music fills the air and Clara is given a nutcracker doll by her mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer. Falling asleep on the sofa, she dreams a Christmas dream of magic
and romance…

As the clock strikes midnight, the drawing room is transformed into a battleground. Skirmishes break out between toy soldiers, led by the brave Nutcracker, and the motley crew of mice who emerge from the shadows of the skirting boards. All seems lost, but clever Clara saves the day, and the handsome Nutcracker Prince sweeps her away on a snowy journey to the enchanted Marzipan Castle.

Welcomed to the magical kingdom by the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara and her Prince are captivated by dances representing tea, coffee, chocolate, marzipan and flowers. The dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy brings the entertainment to a climax in one of the ballet’s most beloved showpieces.

As the night ends, Clara awakes on Christmas morning, knowing that the sweetest memories are made with those whom we love.

Tchaikovsky’s magical and much-loved score will be performed live in, Christchurch (by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra) and Dunedin (by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra). Tickets are on sale now, including special prices for children and groups, see rnzb.org.nz.