RWB Announces Cancellation of Nutcracker
September 28, 2020 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Due to ongoing public health restrictions, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) has chosen to cancel Nutcracker, one of Canada’s most beloved holiday traditions.
A holiday tradition for thousands of Manitobans, the RWB remained hopeful it could once again perform the seasonal classic as originally scheduled to take place at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall December 22 – 28, 2020. This special Canadian version of Nutcracker has been an iconic part of the company’s repertoire since 1999.
“Evolving an artform truly meant to be enjoyed live is a significant challenge with physical distancing practices in place for both our patrons and our artists,” says Artistic Director and CEO, Andre Lewis. “The safety of everyone is our primary focus and when considering a production the size of Nutcracker, involving hundreds of dancers, crew and support staff, it could not be done. We are shifting our focus and inspiration to creations and performances we can deliver with the least possible risk.”
The RWB remains dedicated to teaching, creating and performing outstanding dance and plans are already in place to reveal upcoming performances able to accommodate a safe return to the stage for dancers and patrons alike. Details will be forthcoming, but the return of the dancers to the studios will see them performing new creations, choreographed and performed by the dancers, alongside revivals of pieces starting in mid-November followed by a the Nutcracker suite in mid December; all to be presented at the RWB Founders’ Studio, 380 Graham Avenue.
For dancers, a safe return to the studios must follow government guidelines, along with additional measures put in place by the RWB. For now, they will return to rehearsals in a limited capacity, meaning for short periods of time, dancing in cohorts, while maintaining physical distancing and always wearing a mask.
“Although our return to the stage this calendar year will look a little different, the RWB was built by Winnipeggers who believe in us. We are a creation of the prairies; we must dance, and we ask that you continue to believe in us through these challenging times.” says Associate Artistic Director, Tara Birtwhistle. “The art of ballet has always been a way for society to cope with the toughest of times and this is no exception.”
The RWB remains hopeful that the remaining performances of the RWB’s 81st season, Swan Lake in March, The Magic Flute in April, Spotlight: 50th Anniversary in May and On The Edge in June, will go forward as scheduled. Despite the constantly changing nature of the pandemic the company is hopeful for the future and is monitoring the public health environment and will assess whether each performance proceeds over the coming months.
On Tuesday, September 22, the RWB joined in the Live Event Community’s #lightuplive, which asked technicians, artists, supplier, and over 650 venues across the country to light their buildings in red – raising awareness for a performance arts industry which remains dark. The event served as a sombre reminder that the live entertainment industry, which has been significantly impacted by the virus, needs the continued support of its patrons in order to the return to stage.