When the Royal City Youth Ballet brings the beautiful Christmas classic The Nutcracker to Abbotsford on Saturday, it will include several youngsters from the community.
The non-profit company holds the distinction of being the longest running seasonal ballet performance in Canada, attracting young dancers from Lower Mainland dance schools for the past 24 years.
Six Abbotsford dancers are in supporting roles. Mya McBeth and Amailie Holmsen-Wong, two of the youngest members, are baby mice. Emileigh Gesner is the dancing bear, Ryan and Jarrod Jones are party scene boys, while their sister Riana is one of the villainous big mice in the fight scene.
The cast includes more than 100 children, plus several adult professional dancers, under the direction of Dolores Kirkwood, who received the 2009 Order of British Columbia for her years of service.
Aged six years and up, the young dancers enter ballet boot camp in early September to rehearse long hours every weekend, preparing for 21 shows throughout B.C. during the season. The children interact with professionals who act as mentors and the end result is a very successful show that has withstood the test of time.
Performed to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's beautiful music, this traditional ballet has beautiful sets designed by Jan Claude Olivier and costumes by Chris Sinosich.
The Nutcracker will be performed at 2: 30 p.m. Nov. 24, at the Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way (by Abbotsford Senior Secondary).
Tickets are $20 general, $10/youth & seniors at the door, or abbotsfordartscentre.ca or www.royalcityyouthballet.org.