Young dancers bring The Nutcracker to Gisborne stage

The traditional classic ballet The Nutcracker will be staged at the War Memorial Theatre this month by Proctor Productions and it has some surprises. It features 50 young dancers eight years and under from the Nadine Antoinette School of Dance and in the lead role is young Gisborne ballet dancer Austin Rice, who has just been accepted into the 2018 intake at the New Zealand School of Dance to study classical ballet full time. He is pictured here fighting to protect Clara (Alice Jenkins) from the Mouse King (Jenna Deere), watched over by the Sugarplum Fairy (Fern Stuart). Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

TWO years in the planning and six months of effort is coming to a climax as a Gisborne ballet school prepares to present the classic ballet The Nutcracker at the War Memorial Theatre next month.

Staged by Proctor Productions, with dancers from the Nadine Antoinette School of Dance, the Gisborne production of The Nutcracker will have some surprises, says teacher Nadine Proctor.

“It is the traditional style of ballet but I have added some characters to incorporate the littlies. With 50 kids eight years and under in it, I have incorporated some surprises for the audience that make it more exciting for the kids.”

Mrs Proctor says she organises a show every two years to give her dancers the opportunity to perform like a real ballet company.

Two years ago it was Coppelia and there was much positive feedback.

“People said ‘wow, if only people realised the professionalism involved, the theatre would be packed out’.”

Because of the cost and logistics of putting on a performance like this, there will only be two chances to see it: a matinee and an evening performance on November 18.

Preparation for each show starts for Mrs Proctor as soon as one finishes.

“I made the decision to do Nutcracker as soon as we finished Coppelia, so planning started back then. For the past six months it has been full-on.”

As well as the choreography and practice with the troupe, there is the set, lighting and costumes to organise.

“We are hiring backdrops from the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company. Some costumes we are hiring from the Northland Dance Society and some have been made here.”

Having an “awesome” theatre crew to build the set, and organise and run the lighting is a big help, she says.

It is all getting exciting as the big day draws closer, but the reality is that they need to sell tickets The viability of this and future shows depends on the support of the community.

Young Gisborne dancer Austin Rice, who has just been accepted into the 2018 intake at the New Zealand School of Dance to study classical ballet full-time, will play the lead role of the Nutcracker.

“This will be the last chance to see him dance classical ballet at home before he leaves in January.”

Other lead roles are Alice Jenkins as Clara, Jenna Deere the Mouse King and Fern Stuart as Drosselmeyer the magician and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Tickets can be bought from Stephen Jones Photography or online at Ticketdirect.co.nz.


TWO years in the planning and six months of effort is coming to a climax as a Gisborne ballet school prepares to present the classic ballet The Nutcracker at the War Memorial Theatre next month.

Staged by Proctor Productions, with dancers from the Nadine Antoinette School of Dance, the Gisborne production of The Nutcracker will have some surprises, says teacher Nadine Proctor.

“It is the traditional style of ballet but I have added some characters to incorporate the littlies. With 50 kids eight years and under in it, I have incorporated some surprises for the audience that make it more exciting for the kids.”

Mrs Proctor says she organises a show every two years to give her dancers the opportunity to perform like a real ballet company.

Two years ago it was Coppelia and there was much positive feedback.

“People said ‘wow, if only people realised the professionalism involved, the theatre would be packed out’.”

Because of the cost and logistics of putting on a performance like this, there will only be two chances to see it: a matinee and an evening performance on November 18.

Preparation for each show starts for Mrs Proctor as soon as one finishes.

“I made the decision to do Nutcracker as soon as we finished Coppelia, so planning started back then. For the past six months it has been full-on.”

As well as the choreography and practice with the troupe, there is the set, lighting and costumes to organise.

“We are hiring backdrops from the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company. Some costumes we are hiring from the Northland Dance Society and some have been made here.”

Having an “awesome” theatre crew to build the set, and organise and run the lighting is a big help, she says.

It is all getting exciting as the big day draws closer, but the reality is that they need to sell tickets The viability of this and future shows depends on the support of the community.

Young Gisborne dancer Austin Rice, who has just been accepted into the 2018 intake at the New Zealand School of Dance to study classical ballet full-time, will play the lead role of the Nutcracker.

“This will be the last chance to see him dance classical ballet at home before he leaves in January.”

Other lead roles are Alice Jenkins as Clara, Jenna Deere the Mouse King and Fern Stuart as Drosselmeyer the magician and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Tickets can be bought from Stephen Jones Photography or online at Ticketdirect.co.nz.


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