Alberta Ballet
Ballet BC

The Nutcracker

Dates 28 - 31 December 2005 Venue Queen Elizabeth Theatre Reviewer Ross Michael Pink

The combined artistic talents of Alberta Ballet and Ballet BC were in full force to present a delightful and elegant version of the ballet classic The Nutcracker.

Alberta Ballet, entering its 39th season, is led by multi-talented artistic director, Jean Grand-Maitre who has an impressive record as an independent choreographer with numerous companies such as Norwegian National Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet in Germany.

Ballet BC is led by artistic director John Alleyne, who joined BBC in 1993. Previously, Alleyne was a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada.  A talent and passion for choreography was evident early in Alleyne's dance career. From 1988-1991, he choreographed such daring works as Blue Eyed Trek, 1988; and Interrogating Slam, 1991.

The choreographer for this year's version of Nutcracker was Mikko Nissinen who assumed the position of artistic director of Boston Ballet in 2001. Born in Helsinki, Finland, Nissinen danced with the Finnish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet.

The Nutcracker, peformed to the music of the great Tchaikovsky, is a story of dreams, enchantment and make-believe.  The dancers, to be true to the magic of the tale, must evoke the emotion and dreaminess of the story.

Ballet BC dancer, Fei Guo , was outstanding in the role of the Butterfly. Replete with flowing yellow costume, she led the Waltz of the Flowers. Guo is a lithe and graceful dancer who moves with delicacy. Trained in Beijing and a principal dancer with the Guangzhou Ballet, Guo was a bronze medallist at the international dance competition in Varna,Bulgaria in 2000

Alberta Ballet dancer, Maki Matsuoka, was self assured and impressive in the role of the Sugar Plum fairy. Born in Osaka, Japan, Matsuoka has danced with the Norwegian National Ballet and companies in Belgium and France.

Jonathan Renna was convincing and strong in the role of the Nutcracker Prince. Renna, who previously danced with the National Ballet of Canada, is a dynamic dancer.

The ballet evening was complemented by the beautiful mastery of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the experienced guidance of guest conductor, Peter Dala.

© 2005 Ross Michael Pink