There’s the Nutcracker, and then there’s Shumka’s Nutcracker! This magical production takes the beloved Christmas classic and offers it with a uniquely Ukrainian twist. On December 17th and 18th, local and international dancers will come together to bring the story to life on the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium stage for three exhilarating performances. It’s a can’t miss show this holiday season!
Set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, worlds collide as the grace and beauty of ballet mix with the power and passion of Shumka’s style of Ukrainian dance. In this captivating on-stage storytelling performance, traditional Ukrainian dance is complimented by ballet, folk dance, and character dance.
A distinctly-Edmonton creation, Shumka’s Nutcracker is proud to feature dancers from the Shumka company alongside artists from the Kyiv Ballet and Virsky National Folk Dance Ensemble of Ukraine, young dance members from the Shumka School and a choir of local vocalists. Shumka’s own Senior Creative Director, Les Sereda, leads the charge as Director, with music arrangements by Yuri Shevchenko of Ukraine and choreography by Viktor Lytvynov (Kviv Ballet) and John Pichlyk(Shumka).
The story is true to history. The Stahlbaum family is celebrating Christmas Eve, when young Clara is presented with a Nutcracker by her godfather. Clara’s mischievous brother Fritz breaks the toy, though it’s mended, thanks to the help of Clara’s dream choir (an impressive ensemble of singers from Edmonton choirs). In the night, Clara goes to check on her Nutcracker when they are surrounded by a scurrying team of mice and their king. The battle is on, and when Clara saves the day, her Nutcracker is transformed into a prince, who whisks her off on a magical adventure featuring a spectacle of dance from around the globe.
Of course, in this version, a stunning display of Ukrainian dance takes a predominant role. It’s like watching a bright and beautiful alternate version of the Olympiad – faster, higher, stronger – one after another, dancers perform spins, tricks and jumps that somehow, unfathomably, top their predecessors.
The lighting by Edmonton’s Jeff Osterlin is elaborate, and the sets and costumes by Maria Levitska (National Opera of Ukraine) are nothing short of exquisite. Ultimately, though, it is the athleticism, elegance and showmanship of this company that shines through and steals the show.
This is an incredible performance. There is something to be said for the ballet version of The Nutcracker, but Shumka’s version just takes it to another level. It’s a beautiful coming together of story and music and dance with grace, skill and talent.
Shumka’s Nutcracker has grown to be a beloved holiday tradition for many Edmonton families. With so much local talent on the stage, it is not hard to find the audience seats filled with adoring fans and family members. It’s just another example of the magic of Shumka’s Nutcracker – the reality that many of these stars are our friends and neighbours.
The only downside to Shumka’s Nutcracker is that only three performances are offered and tickets sell out fast due to the popularity of this remarkable performance. Shumka takes stage at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on December 17 and 18, 2021, with tickets starting at just $25 each.
The Magic of Shumka’s Nutcracker:
When: December 17 and 18, 2022
Time: Friday 7:00 PM | Saturday 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Where: Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 11455 — 87 Avenue, Edmonton