Dancers show the grace and elegance of the Nutcracker during a practice session at EMCS.

VIDEO: Sooke ballet presents the Nutcracker this weekend at EMCS

An introduction to classical ballet with lots of excitement for the whole family.

Christmas is about stories: stories we share, we enjoy and we hold dear in our hearts.

This year, Sooke is getting one of the oldest and most epic Christmas stories of all time: The Nutcracker. The show runs Dec. 17 and 18, at Edward Milne Community School Theatre.

Produced and arranged by the Sooke Dance Studio with three other ballet studios from the region (Maple Leaf Ballet and Capital Ballet), The Nutcracker is a classic that comes with a twist of hip hop and tap, said Sooke Dance Studio coordinator Carole Cave.

“If you want an introduction to classical ballet, but also want to see a story that everyone in the family will enjoy, this is it,” Cave said.

“To me, this is an annual tradition for Christmas, because I would go with my mom to the Nutcracker every year and see all variations, such as the original Russian version,” she said.

Mind you, the entire team has been practicing for months leading up to this weekend’s performance, which turns this Nutcracker from just a show into a true passion.

“I’m a little bit exhausted,” Cave laughed. “But this is my passion, and this is what I do it for.”

Partaking in the show was optional for dance students, and many dancers also double as stage crew.

“Everyone does a little something, it’s a team effort,” Cave said, adding that parents support as well by helping out with makeup, hair, costumes, or stage stuff.

The Nutcracker earns its beginnings from the book, Nussknacker und Mausekönig (The Nutcracker and the Mouse King) written by Prussian author and composer Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffman in 1816. It wasn’t until 1892 when Russian composer Poytr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov gave it a theatrical stage as a ballet, simply known as The Nutcracker.

The story follows a little girl, Marie Stahlbaum, who gets a gift from her uncle, Drosselmeyer, a clock maker and inventor who also happens to make magic toys. She becomes obsessed with her Nutcracker, and the two end up going on a big adventure together, coming across good and evil characters, as well as the major antagonist in the story, the Mouse King.

In a way, the story makes everyone wonder if what Marie is seeing is real, which, of course, adds to the overall magic of the tale.

“Is it a dream or is it magic? The Nutcracker turns into a prince, and they battle the Mouse King, and then they go off to the Snow Flakes, and the Snow Flakes take off to the Land of Sweets, and there’s all these dancing treats … it’s all very fascinating,” Cave said.

The show on Saturday starts at 5 p.m. at the EMCS Theatre, while Sunday’s show is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15, with $1 going to the Sooke Family Resource Society. Concession treats will also be available.


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