Countdown to Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker

Snowflake dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. Vince Pahkala photo.

Snowflake dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. Vince Pahkala photo.

In the end, it’s all about the tutus.

Truth be told, that’s why I go to a the Nutcracker in Vancouver every year. Sure, some people say it’s for kids, but if there’s a more beautiful ballet out there, I don’t know about it.

The little girl in me still loves to admire those gorgeous tulle dresses, and when the Sugar Plum Fairy tiptoes on-stage, I inevitably decide that I’m going to become a ballerina when I grow up. It’s never too late to start over, right?

The Nutcracker at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tells the same timeless story every year, but it’s interpreted in a slightly different way depending on the troupe. This year, Ballet BC presents performances by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet–one of the most celebrated companies in the country–from December 12 to 14.

I’m excited to see what this version will bring. Of course, there will be tutus. But also, apparently, some uniquely Canadian touches.

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Countdown to Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker

2014 TEDx Vancouver Tickets on sale now

TEDx Vancouver returns October 18.

TEDx Vancouver returns October 18. Photo Credit: Flickr || Cathy Browne

If you missed the TED talks held earlier this year in Vancouver, then perhaps you can find a some local ideas worth spreading October 18 at TEDx Vancouver.

Professional traveller Robin Esrock, beloved punk rock journalist Nardwuar and local philanthropist Joel Solomon have all graced the stage during past TEDx Vancouver events. This year, a retired MLS Soccer player, a sexologist and a close friend of the Dalai Lama will wow audiences on October 18 at TEDx Vancouver, an independently organized TED Event that will feature Vancouver speakers and artists.

The TEDx Vancouver theme for 2014 is TILT. Event organizers hope that the TILT theme will explore how people are challenging the status quo and engrained patterns of the human pysche.  Continue reading:
2014 TEDx Vancouver Tickets on sale now

WICKED TO RETURN TO VANCOUVER’S QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE, MAY 28 – JUNE 29 (FREE TICKET GIVEAWAY!)

wicked

The following is an interview with GREGORY MAGUIRE, author of the novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”

What inspired you to write “Wicked”?

Gregory Maguire:  I was living in London in the early 1990’s during the start of the Gulf War. I was interested to see how my own blood temperature chilled at reading a headline in the usually cautious British newspaper, the Times of London: Sadaam Hussein: The New Hitler? I caught myself ready to have a fully-formed political opinion about the Gulf War and the necessity of action against Sadaam Hussein on the basis of how that headline made me feel. The use of the word Hitler – what a word! What it evokes! When a few months later several young schoolboys kidnapped and killed a toddler, the British press paid much attention to the nature of the crime. I became interested in the nature of evil, and whether one really could be born bad. I considered briefly writing a novel about Hitler, but discarded the notion due to my general discomfort with the reality of those times. But when I realized that nobody had ever written about the second most evil character in our collective American subconscious, the Wicked Witch of the West, I thought I had experienced a small moment of inspiration.  Everybody in America knows who the Wicked Witch of the West is, but nobody really knows anything about her.  There is more to her than meets the eye.

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WICKED TO RETURN TO VANCOUVER’S QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE, MAY 28 – JUNE 29 (FREE TICKET GIVEAWAY!)

Broadway Hits Coming to Vancouver

wicked_final

Vancouver has a global reputation for stunning West Coast vistas, incredible skiing and daring fusion cuisine. But Broadway hits?

You might be surprised. This spring and throughout 2014, the hottest musicals and first-rate Broadway performances are on stage at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Here’s what’s in store:

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Broadway Hits Coming to Vancouver

History’s Greatest Sleazeball Comes to Town: Don Giovanni at the Vancouver Opera

Image sourced from Vancouver Opera

Image sourced from Vancouver Opera

The timeless opera about history’s most famous seducer and slimeball has come to Vancouver.

Don Giovanni, the 1787 opera with music by none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is showing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre through March 9.  Based on the opening night performance on Saturday, the production should be a crowd-pleaser, for opera aficionados and newbies alike.

Don Giovanni is classified as opera buffa, which must have been 18th-century speak for pulp fiction.  It consists of more than three hours of non-stop swordfights, seductions and ribald – even downright raunchy – scenes.

I’m not sure if it was the saucy subject matter or an aggressive marketing campaign by the Vancouver Opera itself, but the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was packed for the premiere: fuller – and much younger – than I’ve ever seen it for an opera performance.

The protagonist and anti-hero of the production is, of course, Don Giovanni.  Giovanni is the Italian incarnation of the infamous Spanish lover Don Juan, and he’s a world-class smooth talker and scoundrel.   Continue reading:
History’s Greatest Sleazeball Comes to Town: Don Giovanni at the Vancouver Opera