Beloved Nutcracker takes to the boards once again

It’s getting cold outside but in our beautiful city, it is also a time when a charming fairytale comes to the stage. In this case it is the Nutcracker Ballet. Tchaikovsky’s holiday masterpiece is coming to the Southern Jubilee Auditorium once again being brought to life by Alberta Ballet and bringing with them the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO). A magical tale of a young girl’s stand against the Rat Tsar, and meeting the captivating characters in the Land of Sweets reminds us of how magical the holidays are.

This year, the man who is helping bring this fantastical fete to the stage is Alberta Ballet’s creative director Christopher Anderson. 

We had the pleasure of interviewing him and getting to know what his vision is for this year’s production. Here is what he told us.   

What can we expect with this year’s performance? How will it be different from past performances?

This year there are all kinds of new activities in the lobby before the big show. We wanted to make this a more immersive experience that the whole family can partake in. People come from all over the province to see this show and we want to make sure that this event is extra special. For anyone who wants to see the magic of the holidays unfold before their eyes it is an experience like no other.  

How did you set up everything for this production?

This is the largest production that we do here. We have over 100 performers that make this happen. Both dancers and musicians alike create the magic on stage. As we have the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra perform at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium for our dancers, we want to make this a local offering for those who come from all over to visit. Suffice to say, we have the Edmonton Philharmonic Orchestra play for our Edmonton performance. With this presentation we want to give our patrons the benefit of having two shows in one. One is the dancers and the other is the live music. It makes this ballet that much more special.

What is your biggest influence on this production?

The magic of the Nutcracker is due to the new young dancers who come together with our more seasoned veterans. The truth is that it takes all of them to make Clara’s fantastical journey from her parent’s Christmas party to the Land of Sweets real for the audience. Anytime that you can take something from a person’s wonderous imagination and make it come to life, you have to have both the energy of the young and the practicality of the experienced working together to make it happen. 

What was the biggest challenge?

I would have to say the sets and costumes as they are a big part of how the audience views us. These things are a part of what brings everything together and makies it work. The trick is to get the music (and musicians), the dancers (both new and expert), and the backdrop to harmonize into one big piece. For example, when we have Clara wander into the snowy forest, we have snow sprinkle lightly down on her but we have it in a way that does not hinder the dancers and flows with the music at the same time. It’s always tough to get that to work in a way that makes a dream into a reality. 

How would you say you made your mark on this production?

What we try to do is empower our dancers. We want them to incorporate their own personalities and ideas into creating the story and bringing the characters to life. We want to see them shine by their own uniqueness and not restrict themselves. 

What is next for you?

For the company we have more amazing shows coming to the stage that have a more modern feel but still dazzles the audiences. You can expect contemporary dancers, original storylines, and special surprises that will enchant a person’s imagination in an extraordinary way. You can see how true that is when you visit our website. 

Thank you for talking to us.

It was my pleasure.  

The Nutcracker has been a Christmas tradition since that first magical December of 1892 at the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. It has lit all of our souls and brought on a lot of holiday cheer for every year since then. Now with another production on the way we can experience this magical world thanks to Christopher Anderson, the ballet dancers, the CPO, and the many production workers that makes what we can only imagine into a reality. We all need to have a little magic especially around Christmas time. The Nutcracker will give that to us on Dec. 15-24. Don’t miss it!

Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs Dec. 15-24 at the Jubilee Auditorium. For tickets and more information please go to