A Holiday Tradition Returns for 11th Year!
By Laila North
This year marks the 11th Anniversary for Cadance Academy’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” at Festival Theatre. With performances on December 10 and 11, this lively and colourful production is sure to get everyone in the Christmas Spirit and impress audiences of all ages. Cadance Academy’s Director, Gaea Jess, is looking forward to this year’s show. “We’ve all been working so hard on this production – as they say putting our ‘blood, sweat and tears’ into it. I’m so proud of our dancers, and the show just gets better and better every year. We always have new additions to keep it fresh and exciting! This year we’ve added four charismatic Reindeer and brought back the Arabian dancers to the Land of the Sweets as well as a few other changes but you’ll just have to come and see it for yourself!”, beams Gaea.
This year’s cast includes the debut of local dancers Izaak Oulton as “The Nutcracker” and Erinn Nafthal as Clara. Erinn is currently in the Advanced Ballet level at Cadance Academy and has attended Canada’s National Ballet School and Ballet Jörgen’s Summer Intensives. It was eight years ago when Erinn first danced in “The Nutcracker” as a party scene guest and one of Mother Ginger’s children. “For me, to be Clara is an absolute dream of mine! I am so thrilled to have gotten this role in “The Nutcracker”. Ever since I started dancing in “The Nutcracker”, I was always so fascinated and in such awe of the girl who portrayed Clara. After one rehearsal watching, I immediately wanted to someday portray Clara. I think it’s absolutely awesome that Cadance Academy puts on such an amazing show every year. The time and dedication put into the whole show by all the performers, choreographers, technical crew and everyone else involved with the show is beyond amazing. Every year I can’t wait until ‘Nutcracker Season’!”
Izaak started dancing at Cadance Academy when he was four years old but only became serious about it five years ago when he saw “The Nutcracker” and aspired to that role by taking up regular ballet training. “When I found out I was this year’s Nutcracker, I was excited but nervous. I’d hoped one day to play the role and now that I am, it seems surreal.” When asked why he thinks more boys should get involved he says, “There aren’t a lot of male roles in ballets so it’s unbalanced. Society’s outlook on boys dancing needs to change. I hope it will in the near future. Anybody who wants to start dancing should, no matter your gender and what style you prefer, dancing is good for the body and mind!” Cadance Academy offers full year classes in ballet for children and adults, jazz, contemporary, and modern-acro, as well as seasonal 8-week and 10-week sessions throughout the year.
There are just two shows! Performances take place at 7pm on Saturday, December 10 and at 2pm on Sunday, December 11. Both shows were near sell-outs in 2015 so the public is encouraged to buy tickets well in advance. “I am very excited for this year’s Nutcracker and I hope everyone comes out and enjoys the show!”, Erinn says. Tickets are $20 for Adults; and $15 for Students, Seniors, and Children. They are available from the Acadia Box Office (902-542-5500), Cadance Academy (902-679-3616), or at Wild Lily in Wolfville.