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The Nutcracker!

Colourful characters, larger-than-life puppets, breathtaking live music, a fairy tale ballet; Symphony Nova Scotia is proud to present its 22nd-anniversary production of The Nutcracker, a holiday treat for all ages!

Running from December 7-15 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, this annual production by Symphony Nova Scotia, Halifax Dance, and Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is unmatched by any other in the province. Combining the talents of over 100 musicians, dancers, and production staff, The Nutcracker entertains thousands of Nova Scotians each year.

It’s the story of a young girl who falls asleep in a dormitory and wakes up in a fantasy world with her beloved Nutcracker. Together, they fight the vicious Mouse Queen and travel through an enchanting Land of Snow to the Palace of the Rag Doll Queen, where flowers, dolls, and toys come to life.

“It’s the fairy tale of the ages,” says Leica Hardy, The Nutcracker’s choreographer and artistic director. “Like all great stories, it’s about imagination, coming of age, and the power of kindness.”

The Nutcracker weaves its magic through a combination of larger-than-life puppetry, live music, and dramatic narrative dance. The cast includes more than 40 dancers and puppeteers, ranging in age from nine all the way to 60. And while the dancers and puppets are onstage, more than 40 Symphony Nova Scotia musicians are beneath them in the orchestra pit performing the music from Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker ballet.

When Leica choreographed this version of The Nutcracker more than 20 years ago, she had no idea it would become Halifax’s longest-running annual seasonal tradition.

“We started out with a three-year contract!” she says. “It’s amazing to me how The Nutcracker has become such an important part of the cultural fiber of our community. It’s the marriage of puppetry, live music, and live dance that makes it so special.”

This year’s production features a mixture of new and familiar faces onstage. Clara will be played by Vivika Ballard, who trained as a child at Halifax Dance, followed by seven years at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. For the past two years she has trained at the Leica Hardy School of Dance. Rebecca Wolfe will be reprising her role as Frieda and the Mouse Queen. As the daughter of choreographer Leica Hardy and principal dancer Christopher Wolfe, Rebecca has literally grown up with The Nutcracker, performing everything from a baby mouse to a snow maiden.

Other principal dancers this year are veterans Henry Jackson (the Nutcracker Prince), Gay Hauser (Fraulein Drosselmeyer), Christopher Wolfe (the Janitor), and Alexis Milligan (Mother Ginger).

And what can families expect when they come to see The Nutcracker for the first time?

“The marvellous thing about this version of the ballet is that it has dramatic and visual appeal for all ages,” says Leica.

“The package of the music, the images, and the magic of the story are like the biggest, most beautifully gift-wrapped box under the Christmas tree. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together with loved ones, celebrating innocence and the magic of the imagination.”

The Nutcracker at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax
December 7, 8, 14, & 15 at 7:30 pm
December 8, 9, & 15 at 2:00 pm
December 13 at 4:00 pm

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