Local dancers bring a classic Christmas story to life

December 20, 2012 - 2:33pm Updated: December 21, 2012 - 6:42am
Dancers Danelle Charette and Jaimee Leggett stretch before rehearsal for the Nutcracker at Conexus Arts Centre on December 19 2012. Adriana Christianson/CJME
Dancers Danelle Charette and Jaimee Leggett stretch before rehearsal for the Nutcracker at Conexus Arts Centre on December 19 2012. Adriana Christianson/CJME

Much like the toy it was named for, the classic Christmas story the Nutcracker is coming to life on stage at the Conexus Arts Centre this week.

What makes this performance produced by Class Act Dance Studios special is that almost all of the dancers are from right here in Regina.

“It’s just such an enormous project – the dream of many people and we really want this to become an annual event,” explained producer Andorlie Hillstrom. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to see and understand what we have at our disposal – it’s right under our eyes.”

Zane Buchanan lives in Toronto now, but when he got a call to come home and play the Nutcracker he jumped at the chance.

“It’s such an iconic role and everyone knows about this show and everyone loves it because it’s such a Christmas time activity I suppose,” he said.

In a production that involves over 50 dancers and hundreds of others working behind the scenes, Buchanan is not the only alma mater of Class Act Dance Studios to return to the Queen City for this show.

McKeely Borger currently dances with Coastal City Ballet out of Vancouver, but she grew up dancing with Class Act. This time she is taking on the part of the sugar plum fairy.

“It’s a family show for me in a sense that I’m very close to my teachers and I’m very close to the cast and it’s good to be dancing on a stage that I have been on before,” Borger commented.

She flew in this week and went straight to the studio to rehearse.

Hillstrom says Borger is a great inspiration for the younger dancers who have followed her career – especially because it’s so difficult to achieve a career in ballet.

One of those up and coming dancers is Carson Squair, who plays the role of Clara – the girl who gets a Nutcracker for Christmas and dreams that it comes to life. She always hoped to be in a ballet production of this scale but never expected it to happen so soon.

“I was very surprised but I was happy – I knew it would be a lot of hours putting in at the studio and it was,” Squair said. “One day I was there from 10 am until 9pm like sewing and helping out and dancing – other days I’m just there from 4:00pm until 10 pm.”

For everyone involved, from the eight-year-old dancers to the professionals and the local dance instructors- all the work seems to be well worth it.

Buchanan this cast of dancers is particularly great because many of them also come from an acting background. He adds that the sets and costumes are truly wonderful going on to describe what audiences can expect.

“Not only phenomenal technical dancing, but a great visual spectacle.”

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