Alberta Ballet is jeté-ing into the holiday season with its 40th-anniversary production of The Nutcracker.
The ballet — about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve — features a cast of more than 120 dancers.
There have been several versions of the Tchaikovsky classic performed since it debuted in 1892, but to keep the performance fresh, there are new twists, turns and surprises.
It’s Calgarian Alexandra Gibson’s 11th season with Alberta Ballet. The Nutcracker was a tradition in her house growing up.
“I think it’s a chance for families to get together and spend some time together, but also just escape the craziness of the holidays and just spend two hours relaxing and enjoying some live art,” she said. “It is a story of Christmas and the holiday spirit.
“Even though it’s the same production every year, you grow up with it. It’s what inspired me to become a dancer.”
Ahead of each performance, there is a reading for youngsters and anyone else new to the story.
Garrett Groat, a 10th-season dancer from Edmonton, has a young son who loves the dancing mouse.
“I think it’s great for kids, and I don’t think you should have a problem keeping them still in the seat,” he said.
The Nutcracker runs at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from Dec. 13-15 and 20-24.