Ukrainian dancers opening for The Nutcracker
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | December 3, 2015
A couple of professional dancers from the Verba Ukrainian Dance Academy in Winnipeg will make a special guest appearance at this year's local production of The Nutcracker.
"I'm really excited because we've never had any professional dancers involved before," said Julie Barban, choreographer and owner of Heritage Ballet in Haliburton.
During three separate shows from Dec. 5-6, Jennifer and Paul Doroniuk will perform a traditional Trepak dance from a scene in Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Nutcracker. Barban said it's the same dance the pair will be performing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Dance Happens Here Haliburton, formerly known as Dusk Dances Haliburton, is sponsoring the performance, which will begin before the local dancers hit the stage.
"They asked if I'd be interested and I said, 'Sure, why not?'" recalled Barban.
The dancers will also offer two Ukrainian dance workshops for kids on Dec. 6 from 10:30-11:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.-noon at Heritage Ballet. The first is for kids between the ages of eight and 11 while the second is for those 12 and older.
Now in its 12th year, Barban's production will feature 69 children and several adults from the community. With many of the kids between the ages of five and nine, this year's rendition will exude a cute factor.
"I've made a lot of changes to some of the dances to make it work with who I have," she explained.
"They're going to enjoy the little ones."
Twelve-year-old Holden Dupret-Smith will star as The Nutcracker. His "crush," as Barban puts it, is Marie, a shared role featuring Bella Smolen and Ella Moynes.
Many of the same colourful costumes audiences have seen in the past will reappear this year. However, Dani Smolen has created two new tutus for the show.
"I've got a brand new courtier outfit for the head courtier from Russia, it's beautiful. It's got this new headpiece, too. Two Chinese tea costumes are coming, too."
Although Barban has been with the local production since the beginning, it continues to be a magical experience for her.
"I love it just as much. ... It's just part of what I do now."
Two performances of The Nutcracker will be held at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. The final show will be at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at Cranberry Cottage in Haliburton and Pharmasave in Minden. Tickets will be available at the door if they are not sold out in advance.
For more information about the workshops, call 705-457-1990.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.