The Nutcracker thrills audiences

The Nutcracker’s seventh season has been another success for dozens of local dancers, the stars who played the top roles and the production company, Coasting Along Theatre Society. 

“We’ve had people leave the theatre in awe,” said the company’s artistic director, Kathleen Holmes. 

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The iconic seasonal ballet, with its strikingly familiar Tchaikovsky score, had six performances between Dec. 15 and 18 at Raven’s Cry Theatre. 

To watch the lavish, thoroughly professional and clockwork-like production in a local theatre in our relatively small community was indeed an awesome experience. 

The cast of 75 was almost entirely drawn from Sunshine Coast dance schools, many in key parts, like Natalie Martin as Clara, and Bronte Hansen as Dew Drop. Hansen, 18, has been in every Sunshine Coast production of the ballet, which started in 2012. Danielle Gould, of North Vancouver, who has performed internationally for eight years, excelled as the Snow Queen. 

The top roles went to two dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Yue Shi, as the Cavalier, and Chenxin Liu, as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Up and coming dancers who are still intermediate players in major ballet companies often will get the opportunity to take a star turn in smaller local productions of The Nutcracker at this time of year, and Shi and Liu’s performances did not disappoint. 

“They are superstars,” said Holmes. If not quite yet, it would not be a surprise to see that they soon could be. The pair were thrilling perfection in their demanding roles. 

Holmes added that one of the most common sentiments she heard this year was, “We’ve seen Nutcrackers everywhere and this is the best one anywhere.” 

How does Holmes top that? Auditions for next year’s The Nutcracker start in September.


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