Mixed Nuts a different take on The Nutcracker

Dancer Jayson Syrette leaps with Vancouver-centric enthusiasm.

Canuck-Jersey-donning-dancers, hip hop soldiers, and the grand pas de deux celebrating Tchaikovsky’s recognizable Christmas melodies define a very different take on The Nutcracker. Running at the Vancouver Playhouse  Friday, December 12  at 7 PM and Saturday, December 13  at 2 PM and 7 PM, the Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s Mixed Nuts is a fresh way to usher in the holidays.

Artistic Director Artemis Gordon, on a lunch break from a very busy week, explained why she decided to mix up a traditional favourite. “There are so many Nutcrackers out there and I didn’t feel there was a need for yet another one, " Gordon suggested. Successfully running for eight years at this time of year, the show has enjoyed success.

When asking dance enthusiasts their gateway experience, more often than not, they mention their parents or family friends taking them to this holiday treat.

Gordon recognized this. “Since The Nutcracker is the introduction of dance to many people, I wanted to offer something that was more diverse and more reflective of Arts Umbrella's vision.”

Arts Umbrella is a not-for-profit arts education centre committed to delivering the highest quality visual and performing arts education to young people, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

The Arts Umbrella Dance program’s pre-professional program feeds some of the most exciting ballet and contemporary companies in the world.

“There is a whole new group of graduate dancers who are dancing the Grand Pas de Deux, “shared Gordon, describing one of the benchmark dances in the classical repertoire. “Last years' grads are all dancing in international professional companies (Nederlands  Dans Theatre, Batsheva and there are seven grads in our own Ballet BC) so it's a great chance to see up and comers in the international dance scene. There is also new choreography, costumes and set designs. “

An important part of Arts Umbrella’s mandate as a non-profit is to offer the highest quality visual and performing arts education to young people, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

To that end, 3700 elementary students from across the Lower Mainland will be seeing the performance either for free or for only $3 per child offering many the opportunity to experience dance and the arts for the first time.

An advocate for arts education and its enormous power in our lives, Gordon explained the value of Mixed Nuts.

“Only by attending live performances can a person understand the nature of art,” Gordon shared. “Most of the dancers are the same age as the kids in the audience. For young people to see kids dancing is very inspirational.”

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