Dancers rehearse a scene from The Gift — Ballet Victoria's annual holiday show

The Gift offers up traditional holiday cheer

Ballet Victoria’s annual holiday show The Gift will return to the Royal Theatre for three shows beginning Dec. 27.

By Sara Wilson

After eight cities, 12 shows, 7,500 kilometres 12 dancers, two crew, two minivans and one truck, Ballet Victoria’s annual holiday show The Gift will return to the Royal Theatre for three shows beginning Dec. 27.

The Gift — a uniquely wonderful Christmas ballet danced to Tchaikovsky’s timeless Nutcracker score — delivers beautifully executed dance, elaborate costumes, and complex choreography.

“It offers up traditional holiday cheer and at the same time, we have a lot of contemporary, and humours elements that bring the production into the 21st century,” said artistic director Paul Destrooper.

“Every year there are elements to the production that change. This year, we’ve added two new characters Columbine and Harlequin and they have been quite popular on tour.”

The show opens with a young girl named Clara—performed by principle dancer Andrea Robyn Bayne. Her family is welcoming guests to their Christmas Eve party, when her world traveling uncle, Dross, comes by. This year, along with a few surprises, he’s brought a box from his travels, a box that should not be opened.

As the evening draws to an end, Clara sneaks back into the living room to take a closer look at the mysterious red box. Ignoring the warning, she opens it and releases a myriad of fantastic characters that create chaos around the house.

With the help of the Victoria Symphony, the classic score will whisk you away with the dancers and into a flurry of characters who celebrate Christmas together.

“It makes it a unique experience. You can have three generations of family come together and all really enjoy the show,” said Destroopers.

Tickets are available at the Royal Theatre Box Office, by phone at 250-386-6121 or online at balletvictoria.ca. Children’s tickets begin at $25, senior/students at $23.20 and adult tickets begin at $30 for all three 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 27, Dec. 28 and Dec. 29.