Sugar plum pirouettes fill stage

Clara, played by Emma Dewar, 13, dances with the Nutcracker, played by Yuta Kawakami, from the Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver during Kirkwood Academy’s upcoming production of The Nutcracker. - Dirk Heydemann Photo
Clara, played by Emma Dewar, 13, dances with the Nutcracker, played by Yuta Kawakami, from the Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver during Kirkwood Academy’s upcoming production of The Nutcracker.
— image credit: Dirk Heydemann Photo

A Christmas gift given to a young girl named Clara takes her on a magical journey in the classic tale of The Nutcracker.

Her adventure begins at a Christmas Eve party with her family. A mysterious figure appears who Clara recognizes as her godfather. He gives Clara a wooden nutcracker doll. Her brother Fitz purposely breaks her gift.

In the middle of the night when others have fallen asleep Clara ventures out to check on her doll, which comes to life.

The Nutcracker’s transformation leads Clara on an adventure where she meets sugar plum fairies, the Mouse King, gingerbread men, soldiers and other creatures, and ventures through snow forests, the Land of Sweets and other fantastical lands.

“What I love is the creativity and the imagination that is put in the play,” said Emma Dewar, 13, who performs as Clara. “I love the music.”

Mikaela Kos, 12, also plays the role of Clara. The two split playing the role in performances at the Port Theatre and local schools. The role of Clara is one they have aspired to perform for a long time. The two young dancers said former Kirkwood student Jillian Vanstone, who is now a dancer in the National Ballet of Canada and is the Sugar Plum Fairy in Toronto’s The Nutcracker performance, was an inspiration for them.

It was the first time the two performed with a male dancer. Yuta Kawakami, from the Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver, plays the Nutcracker.

“He is so amazing and so helpful and he has me speechless at times,” said Dewar. “He is so good.”

The role also allows them to use their acting skills, something they don’t always get to do in other parts.

“You get to express yourself and use facial expressions,” said Kos, adding that having that additional performance aspect is fun.

Both dancers said it wasn’t difficult to connect with the character of Clara because they are around her age. During the party scene it wasn’t hard to pretend to have fun because the other dancers are their friends, said the dancers.

Kirkwood Academy’s production of The Nutcracker involves 179 dancers who perform the various roles.

Carolé Martyn, director of Kirkwood Academy, said the performance is suited for all ages even young children. The stage is draped in Christmas colours and features large props.

“There is always something to look at visually,” she said. “All the costumes are nice and bright.”

The 18th production of Kirkwood Academy’s Nutcracker shows at the Port Theatre Friday (Nov. 30) at 7 p.m. and Saturday (Dec. 1) 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25/$20 students and groups and $12 for children under 12. Tickets are available by calling 250-754-8550, at the Port Theatre box office or www.porttheatre.com.


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