Enjoy an evening of exuberant dancing at Shumka’s Nutcracker
By Katrina Turchin | December 16, 2021
Feel the joy of the holiday season at Shumka’s Nutcracker.
Shumka’s reimagined program combines ballet, folk dance and Ukrainian character dance in a celebration of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Christmas classic.
“It’s a huge collaboration with performers from around the globe coming together to bring a unique Ukrainian perspective to The Nutcracker, but really, it is The Nutcracker as you would expect it to be,” says Les Sereda, Shumka’s senior creative director.
The show is performed by Shumka company members, dancers from the Kyiv Ballet, a choir of local vocalists and young dancers from the Shumka school. The show, which hasn’t been performed since 2019, has over 100 members in the cast and crew.
The story follows Clara, a young girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. A Shumka twist on the show includes a special Ukrainian folk dance number called the Hopak, a large dance number with difficult tricks. Tchaikovsky was of Ukrainian descent and he wrote an opera called Mazeppa, which had a Hopak and served as Shumka’s creative inspiration for the program.
“That was a real turning point for us in this creative journey, and we took that opera and dropped it into The Nutcracker and it fits perfectly because it is Tchaikovsky’s music,” says Sereda. “It still holds true to what The Nutcracker is. So if you’re a traditionalist in terms of The Nutcracker, you’re going to get everything that you always wanted, and yet a little bit more, and something that’s unique, and has a bit of a Shumka twist on it.”
Shumka’s Nutcracker is playing three shows at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from December 17 to 18. The two evening shows begin at 7 p.m. each night and the matinee show on December 18 starts at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $25.