Holiday classic The Nutcracker returns to Port Alberni

River-Port Danceworks brings together professional and student dancers

River-Port Danceworks will be bringing The Nutcracker back to Port Alberni on Saturday, Nov. 24. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

A classic holiday performance will be returning to Port Alberni this month.

River-Port Danceworks’ fourth annual production of The Nutcracker will be full of holiday spirit, surprises and amazing talent for audience members of all ages to enjoy.

This is a touring production, and Jen Soo, owner of River-Port Danceworks Ltd. in Port Alberni and Campbell River, will be working with Jessa Pereira and Vlad Pereira of Ilha Ballet Academy in Courtenay to bring this holiday classic to each community.

“This is the first year that we’ve involved Ilha Academy of Ballet,” explained Soo. “We have had a working partnership for a while.”

The touring company features approximately 40 dancers, plus an additional 60 dancers will join in each home town.

“Every tour has their own home studio dancers,” added Soo.

Students from Studio North Dance Academy (Campbell River), Stage West School of Performing Arts (Port Alberni) and Ilha Ballet Academy (Courtenay) will be joined on stage by professional dancers. Danielle Gould, of the Hungarian National Ballet in Budapest, will play the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, while Giovanni Ciacci Giordano of Goh Ballet Youth Company will play the Cavalier. The show will also feature students of the Ballet Academy of Victoria’s Bridge Program.

The addition of Ilha Ballet Academy isn’t the only change in the show. Soo, with help from Jessa and Vlad, has worked to make this year’s production better than the last.

“There have been a lot of changes to choreography,” Soo said. “Some of the pieces are bigger this year. We have more dancers, more props. There will be a few surprises.”

Port Alberni is the second stop on the tour. The performance will take place at the Alberni District Secondary School Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are available online ( or at Funk Trunk and Finishing Touches.

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