Drosselmeyer played by David Zilstra shows the children some rag dolls before he works his magic bringing dolls to life.JENN WATT Staff

The Nutcracker continues to delight

By Nate Smelle

Published Nov. 21 2017

Every community has its own traditions when it comes to celebrating the holiday season. Over the past 14 years Heritage Ballet’s annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker has become one of these beloved occasions for people in Haliburton County. Owner and choreographer of Heritage Ballet in Haliburton Julie Barban has been working with the dancers for two months.

Appreciating how much the audience loves the performance each year she has also noticed how amazing the experience is for the children who get to star in The Nutcracker.

“They get to feel the nervousness and excitement of waiting for their turn to go out on stage and show the community what they’ve been rehearsing and learning the past two months” she said.
“They get to wear beautiful costumes from around the world and tutus made by a local mother that are worthy of the National Ballet of Canada.”

Barban also finds the experience to be very rewarding. In the beginning she said she didn’t know if she could “pull off” such a big production. However after speaking with one of her students Barban became convinced they could make it a success.

“A former student of mine convinced me we could and so together Rachel Regina and I pulled it off” she said.

“The following year we did it again but then she went away to university.”

Barban believes one of the reasons The Nutcracker continues to be one of the county’s most special and enjoyable traditions is because it changes and evolves each year.

“Every year it may change slightly because of the dancers I have their ages and capabilities” said Barban.

“Sometimes I add in new things change up costumes and this year we have the Ukrainian dance couple we had in 2015 returning. This year they are joined with another couple thanks to the DH3 [Dance Happens Here Haliburton] committee.”

The first two performances will take place on Saturday Dec. 2; with the first beginning at 2 p.m. and the second getting underway at 7:30 p.m. The final show will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 3. All performances will take place at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton. Tickets cost $18 and are available for purchase online at www.onstagedirect.com/buy/performer-info.action?performerId=422; or at the door.

Heritage Ballet is a small family oriented studio offering yearly ballet exams and the opportunity to compete throughout Ontario and upstate New York. For more information about Heritage Ballet and/or their annual performance of The Nutcracker visit www.heritageballet.ca.