Perennial favourite Nutcracker a virtual delight this holiday season

Ukrainian Shumka Dancers’ Nutcracker Ballet. © Marc J Chalifoux Photography 2018

This year fans of the holiday ballet classic Nutcracker get to the enjoy the show from the safety and comfort of their home. Dance Victoria presents Ukrainian Shumka Dancers version of the perennial favorite, featuring guest artists from the Kyiv Ballet of the National Opera of Ukraine.

“Last year we presented this exuberant production at the Royal Theatre and it brought the house down,” says Executive Producer Stephen White. “There’s a huge Ukrainian dance sequence (a Hopak) in the second half of the program with dancers leaping, flipping and tumbling across the stage. It is truly remarkable. Last year the Royal Theatre audience jumped to their feet when it was all over!”

In addition, Dance Victoria is partnering with Victoria Women’s Transition House and other agencies through their Nutcracker Kids program. Each $65 donation is matched with free access to the online Nutcracker package. 

Nutcracker Kids Campaign Chair, Julie Rust Personal Real Estate Corporation, said it’s more important than ever to help those in need this holiday season. “Because we can’t get together at the Royal Theatre this year, Dance Victoria is bringing Nutcracker to you, creating an incredible opportunity to bring this presentation to even more children and their families in 2020. I hope you will join us.” Visit to donate.

Shumka’s Nutcracker blends the grace and lyricism of classical ballet with the strength of Ukrainian character dance in a celebration of Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. Choreographed by Viktor Lytvynov, this production features principal artists from the Kyiv Ballet of the National Opera of Ukraine, Ukrainian dancers from Shumka and folk dancers from the Virsky National Dance Ensemble. Lavish sets and costumes are designed by National Opera of Ukraine’s Maria Levitska.

Based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s beloved tale The Nutcracker, Shumka’s Nutcracker begins when a young girl receives a Nutcracker doll from her godfather, Dr. Drosselmeier on Christmas Eve. As the clock in the Staulbaum home strikes midnight, the Nutcracker springs to life in a battle against the Mouse King. With Clara’s help, the Nutcracker and his battalion of toy soldiers defeat the Mouse King and his army, breaking a spell and returning the Nutcracker to his human form: a handsome prince. As a gesture of his gratitude, the prince takes Clara on a magical journey, where they meet a cast of unforgettable characters. 

Ukrainian Christmas traditions and symbols are woven into this full-length production as well as a Ukrainian Christmas carol – a grand orchestral and choral version of Shchedryk (Carol of the Bells) arranged by renowned Ukrainian composer Yuri Shevchenko. 

Ticket holders to the virtual Nutcracker enjoy a password-protected HD Nutcracker video presentation available from Thursday, December 10 at 5 pm until Sunday, December 13 at 5 pm. Extras include a Nutcracker Story Time video with local storyteller Jim Leard, downloadable colouring pages and crafts for the little ones, detailed program notes with complete casting, a Nutcracker signature cocktail (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) demonstration with Cascadia Liquor, messages from the show’s sponsors and more – all accessible from

Ukrainian Shumka Dancers in Nutcracker:
Thurs, December 10 – Available 5 pm
Friday, December 11 – All Day
Saturday, December 12 – All Day
Sunday, December 13 – Ends 5 pm

Ukrainian Shumka Dancers’ Nutcracker ballet. Photo by Marc J Chalifoux.