WINNIPEG — One of Manitoba’s most beloved holiday traditions is another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet announced Monday it is cancelling performances of the “Nutcracker.”
“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,” said RWB 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 achieved. We are shifting our focus and inspiration to creations and performances we can deliver with the least possible risk to our artists and audiences.”
The annual classic was to be performed December 22-28 at the Centennial Concert Hall.
In place of the “Nutcracker,” other performances are in the works this November and December at the RWB Founders’ Studio, 380 Graham Avenue.
“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,” said RWB 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 is still holding out hope that its 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.