Behind The Scenes: National Ballet's "The Nutcracker"
Even if you've never been to the ballet, you've certainly heard of The Nutcracker. The fantastical growing-up tale of two children in a world of toys and treats come to life, set Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's timeless music, is one of the best known ballet works and has become a holiday classic. Starting December 10, the National Ballet of Canada mounts their 16th production of The Nutcracker at Toronto's Four Seasons Centre (until January 3, see national.ballet.ca for tickets).
Part of the magic comes from the lush sets and costumes, created for the National Ballet in 1995 by Tony Award-winning designer Santo Loquasto. One of the most spectacular is the Fabergé egg that houses the Sugar Plum Fairy. "It's one of the best reveals in ballet," says principal dancer Sonia Rodriguez, who has danced the role of the famous role for more than 10 years. "You can hear the gasps and excitement in the audience."
"It's packed with things," says Rodriguez of the production. "Year after year you can come back and you'll see different things." That the show has become a holiday tradition is something the dancer especially enjoys. "To know that you're part of somebody's life. It's really special."
To get a closer look at what makes The Nutcracker such at stunning show, we took a tour of the National Ballet of Canada's wardrobe department. Read on to see the Sugar Plum Fairy's costume, the famous tutu room, and learn just how many pointe slippers a ballerina uses.
Sonia Rodriguez in The Nutcracker