Arts & Culture

Nutcracker leads Impressive lineup of December shows

’Tis the season for holiday pageants, but instead of crowding into smelly school gyms, this year some lucky parents will be lining up in black tie to watch their children perform one of the most timeless ballets. Eighty local children will have the opportunity to play mice, toy soldiers, and rats in Alberta Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker at the National Arts Centre from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.

The-Nutcracker,-Photo-By-Darren-Makoivichuk
The Nutcracker. Photo: By Darren Makoivichuk

“Performing onstage with a company is inspiring, thrilling, and challenging all at the same time. [It’s] the stuff dreams are made of,” says Merrilee Hodgins, the school’s artistic director.

Regardless of their role as extras, the children will doubtlessly be looking to impress their parents in the audience — a feeling that isn’t limited by age. Alberta Ballet’s artistic director, Jean Grand-Maître, says he particularly wants to impress his own 80-year-old parents, who will also be in attendance. A Hull native, Grand-Maître discovered the performing arts at the NAC.

The life of a dancer is an arduous one, with much sacrifice by both the performer and the parents, something Grand-Maître recognizes. He says he hopes that with The Nutcracker, his parents will finally be able “to enjoy the end result of so many sacrifices.”

Upcoming

Former host of CBC Radio’s The Roundup, Tetsuro Shigematsu has created a touching and technically beautiful tale of the strained relationship he shares with his father in his solo show, Empire of the Son. The play is at the NAC Studio from Nov. 22 to Dec. 3

Zucchini Productions will be presenting Capital Cabarets: Bring on the Men! A combination of song and storytelling, the show aims to introduce Ottawa audiences to males in the contemporary musical theatre world who are “bold, beautiful, and sometimes bad.” It’s being held at the Arts Court Theatre on Nov. 26.

Master of marionettes Ronnie Burkett returns to Ottawa with The Daisy Theatre, which will run at the GCTC from Nov. 29 to Dec. 18. Burkett mesmerizes with his nightly improv theatre, featuring a cast of 40 marionettes full of smarts and snark. Warning: adults only  — these puppets are not kid-friendly!

The-Daisy-Theatre,-Photo-By-Alejandro-Santiago
The Daisy Theatre. Photo: By Alejandro Santiago

A performance entitled Traces offers audiences a peak at the talent emerging from the Contemporary Dance Diploma Programme at The School of Dance. The students are working with some of Canada’s top choreographers, so these pieces promise to be edgy, innovative, and energetic. The show will be at Arts Court Theatre on Dec. 16 and 17.

Countries Shaped Like Stars, Mi Casa Theatre’s oh-so-charming love story, won several awards when it premiered at the 2009 Ottawa Fringe Festival. It returns Jan. 19 to 21, 2017, at Arts Court Studio as part of the #FRINGE20 Series, which revisits Ottawa Fringe favourites from years past in celebration of the festival’s 20th anniversary. Take someone you’re sweet on.

The Ghomeshi Effect is a verbatim dance-theatre piece exploring the language used in the discussion of sexual violence. Rather than a rehashing of the Jian Ghomeshi trial, director/creator Jessica Ruano looks at the phenomenon created by it, which led to women speaking up about their own experiences. From Jan. 19 to 28, 2017, at The Gladstone and Feb. 2 at Shenkman Arts Centre.