The Nutcracker Local Participant Program gives young dancers the opportunity to perform with a professional dance company! They interact with professional dancers and gain invaluable performance experience as they dance roles in Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition.

Audition Information

General Requirements

  • Aged 8 – 17 years
  • Dance training required, ballet is an asset

How to Register

Students interested in auditioning must register for a specific audition by filling out our online registration form.  You can register for more than one audition but one form must be submitted for each city. You will hear back from us to confirm your exact audition time. Registrants are organized into time slots based on age groups.

How the Audition Works

There is no need to prepare a dance piece nor bring a portfolio or bio to the audition. Students should wear the dance clothes normally worn at their local dance classes. You will be asked to dance choreography that we teach you. The CBJ audition leader will be looking at each dancer’s ability to learn the choreography and deliver it with the desired technique, musicality and performance quality.  Preliminary selections will be made from each age group and asked to return for the “Selected Audition”. The Selected Audition directly follows the last age group audition on the audition day. Dancers will be asked to repeat certain choreography and possibly learn some new choreography while being further assessed on their ability to perform and apply corrections. The final cast will be selected from this group and roles will be assigned on the day. Parents/Guardians will be given a participant permission form to fill out. After this point, cast members are expected at all scheduled rehearsals based on the roles they have been assigned, any absences will have consequences that can lead to being removed from the cast. Final show casting will be determined about 3-5 weeks prior to the performance and is based on the work delivered by each cast member at the weekly rehearsals. All casting is always subject to change.

Important Information

Participants who are selected to perform are required to attend any further rehearsals scheduled over the entire Audition Weekend, as well as mandatory weekly rehearsals from that weekend forwards.

All cast members must be available for every performance, final show casting will determine exactly who is required to dance in each performance in that community. DO NOT purchase your tickets to the performance(s) until final show casting has been determined, this way you can be assured to buy tickets to the show that your dancer is appearing in. Provisions cannot be made for exchanging any tickets purchased prior to this casting.

Local Cast Audition Dates

The list of communities for The Nutcracker 2020 Local Participant programs:

Performance CityAudition Registrations CloseAudition DateAudition TimeAudition LocationPerformance Date(s)Performance Location
BrantfordFri Sept 25 @ 5:00pm ESTSat Sept 26 2020TBASanderson Centre for the Performing Arts,
88 Dalhousie St, Brantford
Dec 6 2020Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts
GuelphTBATBATBATBADec 22-23 2020River Run Centre
Sat Sept 26 @ 5:00pm ESTSun Sept 27 20209:00-12:15pmThe Dream Centre, 70 Innovation Dr, DundasDec 5 2020Hamilton Place
HuntsvilleTBATBATBATBANov 27 2020Algonquin Theatre
Kitchener-Waterloo - Local CastTBATBATBATBADec 28 2020Centre in the Square
Touring - Kitchener AuditionTBATBATBATBANov 28-Dec 31 2020Across Ontario
LondonTBATBATBATBADec 21 2020Centennial Hall
MarkhamTBATBATBATBADec 30 & 31 2020Flato Markham Theatre
OttawaTBATBATBATBADec 9-10 & 12 2020Shenkman Arts Centre (Dec 9 & 10) & Centrepointe Theatre (Dec 12)
St. CatharinesTBATBATBATBADec 16 2020FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
Touring - Toronto AuditionTBATBATBACanada's Ballet Jörgen Studios in
George Brown College, Casa Loma Campus,
160 Kendal Ave. Bldg. C, Rm. 126, Toronto, ON M5R 1M3
Nov 28-Dec 31 2020Across Ontario
Toronto - Local CastTBATBATBACanada's Ballet Jörgen Studios in
George Brown College, Casa Loma Campus,
160 Kendal Ave. Bldg. C, Rm. 126, Toronto, ON M5R 1M3
January 2 & 3 2020Betty Oliphant Theatre

*Touring Cast members (11-15) are aged 12+ and perform in 10-12 shows each between Nov 24-Dec 30 2018. All touring cast members rehearse in Toronto and Kitchener.

How the Program Works

  • All participants are selected at an audition which takes place in our Nutcracker performance season communities in the early autumn of every year. Students register in advance to audition in their own local community.
  • Auditions and first rehearsals typically take place over the course of one weekend in early autumn in each participating community. After completing your online registration, you will be contacted individually with an exact audition time based on the student’s age. This usually takes 7-10 days.
  • Once the cast is selected at the audition, specific roles are assigned and choreography rehearsals ensue. For auditions taking place on a Saturday morning, final selections are usually completed by noontime, leaving the remaining weekend time for choreography rehearsals. In some locations, choreography rehearsals takes place over the coming weeks. During these mandatory rehearsals, all the show choreography is taught by the CBJ repetiteur.
  • A Local Rehearsal Master will then hold mandatory weekly rehearsals until the performance date(s). Based on this rehearsal process and in consultation with the CBJ repetiteur, final show casting will be determined 2-3 weeks prior to the first performance. It is recommended that parents, friends and family do not purchase their tickets until this final show casting has been announced which will ensure that they have tickets to the show that their participant is actually dancing in.
  • The Cast will have on stage rehearsals with the full company the day prior and/or the day of the first performance. Local Cast members must attend all rehearsals and be available for all performances.
  • Once in the Theatre with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, the Cast is fitted for their costumes, rehearsed on stage with the lights, sets, props, costumes and Company Dancers and then released for a dinner break before the show. Pre-ordered T-shirts are handed out. A cast photo is taken by the Company after every performance. This photo will be emailed to all participants by no later than middle of January.

Local Youth Cast Roles in The Nutcracker, a Canadian Tradition

Local roles to be cast at each audition:

Roles# to be CastApproximate HeightsApproximate Ages in the Role
Frog24’ – 4’10”8 - 11 yrs
Bear Cub14’3” – 4’11”8 - 11 yrs
Chipmunk44’5” – 5’3"10 - 13 yrs
Squirrel45’2” -5’6”12 - 16 yrs
Dragonfly25’3” +14 -17 yrs
Beaver14’5” – 5’3”One of the Chipmunks
White-Tailed Deer15’3” +One of the Dragonflies

The number to be cast in each role will vary with the # of performances in each venue, what is shown is the minimum # of roles to be cast. Please note that cast members may dance more than one role and the role of Dragonfly may not be cast at all – this makes the minimum total local cast – 9 local youth. And generally, the maximum local youth cast does not exceed 20.

Our Rehearsal Directors

Caitlin Marziali, Elise Tigges, Jamee Valin, Hannah Drover, Kimber Dyer, Victoria Wells


Rehearsal Schedules

What You Need

  • Please dress like you would for your regular ballet class or dance class – dancewear, shoes and hair-up.
  • Please bring snacks and water for breaks, this keeps the positive energy up for all dancers.
  • Come prepared to learn choreography, to enjoy dancing and to have a great experience with us.

  • Please dress like you would for your regular ballet class or dance class – dancewear, shoes and hair-up.
  • Please bring snacks and water for breaks in rehearsal, this keeps the positive energy up for all dancers.
  • Frogs will need to bring an umbrella to every rehearsal.
  • Squirrels will need to bring an empty backpack to every rehearsal.

  • Costumes for the show are provided by Canada’s Ballet Jörgen but participants will need their own undergarments and shoes, equipment students already own for their regular dance classes (Touring Cast participants will be supplied with performance shoes).
  • Upon cast member registration each participant will have the opportunity to order a keepsake Nutcracker Tour Shirt.
  • A Company and Youth Cast photo will be taken at each performance and be made available to Cast members at the end of the Nutcracker performance season.

Wardrobe Requirements By Role

Note:  Please do not eat in or drink in costume – water is allowed.

Chipmunks and Squirrels*Ballet slippers: pink ballet slippers (white for boys)
*Body Suit and Tights: pink ballet tights (white for boys); any colour, any shape body suit
*Hair: Single Braid, extra bobby pins for the hood
Frogs*Ballet Slippers: pink ballet slippers (white for boys)
*Body Suit and Tights: pink ballet tights (white for boys); light colour, tank/strap body suit
*Hair: Single Braid, extra bobby pins (large) for the head piece
Dragonflies*Ballet Slippers: black ballet slippers (we can provide them if you don’t have any)
*Body Suit and Tights: footed black tights; tank or spaghetti strap body suit – any colour
*Hair: French braid for under hood
Deer and Beavers*Ballet Slippers: black ballet slippers if you have them, otherwise pink is fine
*Body Suit and Tights: pink ballet tights, any colour, any shape body suit
*Hair: Single braid
Bear Cub*Ballet Slippers: black ballet or jazz shoe if you have it, otherwise pink or white ballet slipper
*Body Suit and Tights: pink or white ballet tights, any colour, any shape body suit (must be low cut) & black socks
*Hair: Low/mid flat bun for under hat

NOTE: For male dancers, alternative wardrobe requirements are available, please check with the Education Coordinator for role options.


My daughter was in the production here in Charlottetown, but even if she was not chosen to be in it, it was still a wonderful show. I must also thank you for including local talent in your show. I can speak for the other parents and their children and say that the experience they had being a part of your show was just amazing. The girls all had a great time rehearsing and a very good experience the day of the show. Thank you very much for giving them the opportunity to be part of something very special. We hope to see you again on our Island.

Heather Ross
Charlottetown, PEI

I just wanted to tell you how much [my daughter] enjoyed being a part of your Nutcracker production and how much we enjoyed watching it. I was really impressed with the beauty of the show; at times my breath was literally taken away. I was proud that my daughter was a part of such a high calibre production. The way you let the local children have a good amount of stage time and their own special bow was very much appreciated.

Jane Wheeler,
Fredricton, NB

My daughter was very fortunate to be chosen to play one of the frogs in the ballet. She loved having the opportunity to gain more experience in dance. Thanks once again.

The Woollacott Family
Peterborough, ON

I have been dancing since I was three years old and the opportunity to be a small part of the Nutcracker is the highlight of all my years of taking ballet. It was fantastic watching such great dancers up close and this will be an experience I will never forget.

Local Cast Member

CBJ’s Appropriate Physical Contact in Dance Policy

Please view the document below for the policy

For program information, please contact Clea Iveson or 416-415-5000 x 4928