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Top theatre treats for the holiday season

A scene from The Vancouver Arts Club's White Christmas

Don’t you think you’ve already got enough stuff? Here’s an antidote to the greedfest of THINGS that the holidays always bring. Live performance can be given as a gift, to get you in the spirit and to give you an excuse to get you away from your crazy-making family who propel you to act like your nine year old self (and not in a good way). Or grab a nine year old if you don’t have one, especially one who comes from a family who can’t afford it, and treat them to a holiday show. Now THAT’s the true meaning of the holidays.

Ballet BC presents Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker Vancouver Premiere, December 29 – January 1, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Tickets at Choreographed by Edmund Stripe, with sets and costumes by Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown, this new production is set in turn of the 20th century Imperial Russia, an era of opulent grandeur, and is rife with renewed vitality and joy. The new production injects “a fresh, vibrant magic to the mix, where every cent of the $1.5 million budget is displayed through the stunning set designs and elaborate costumes.” With scores of children, mice in the battle scene dressed as Cossack soldiers, and snowflakes dressed as Russian princesses, this spectacular achievement offers a perfect complement to Tchaikovsky’s glorious musical score played live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Arts Umbrella Dance Company presents Mixed Nuts Scotiabank Dance Centre | 677 Davie Street, Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18, 2010 | 7 pm, Suggested donation: $15 adult | $10 student/senior | $40 family (2 adults maximum). A limited number of seats can be reserved. Email reservation requests to [email protected]. A modern retelling using classical ballet, jazz and contemperary style choreography of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” and more, choreographed by leading Canadian choreographers including new work by Ballet BC members Donald Sales and Dario Dinuzzi. Enjoy a fantastic group of young dancers at a very reasonable price.

Arts Umbrella Musical Theatre Troupe: Winter Cabaret Arts Umbrella – Q7, Great Hall | 77 E 7th Avenue (@ Quebec. Friday, December 3, 2010 | 7:30 pm. Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre and started in France in the 1880’s. Arts Umbrella Musical Theatre Troupe will be performing, alongside students from the general Musical Theatre program, a variety of pieces from many popular musicals and shows. Suggested donation: $5 - $10.

The Goh Ballet presents the Nutcracker featuring Principal Dancers from The National Ballet of Canada and Pacific Northwest Ballet, December 16 to 19 at 7:30pm and December 18 to 19 at 2pm, at The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts. Tickets at or by calling 604-280-3311. Choreographed by Anna-Marie Holmes, the magical holiday production will feature Principal Dancers from The National Ballet of Canada and Pacific Northwest Ballet, (Principal Casting Dates TBD) and students from throughout the Lower Mainland. Musicians from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra will perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s memorable Nutcracker Suite live at all six performances.  Executive Producer for The Nutcracker is Chan Hon Goh, former Prima Ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada. The Goh Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker will also showcase the elaborate sets and gorgeous costumes by Zhang Dinghao and Li Ming, and lighting design by Pierre Lavoie.

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