The Nutcracker

Local Participant Program


The Nutcracker – Local Participant Program

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.

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.

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.  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 2017 Local Participant programs:

Performance CityAudition Registrations CloseAudition DateAudition TimeAudition LocationPerformance Date(s)Performance Location
Toronto (Touring Cast)Thurs Sept 13 2018 @ 5:00pmFri Sept 14 20185:30-7:00pmCanada's Ballet Jörgen Studios in
George Brown College, Casa Loma Campus,
160 Kendal Ave. Bldg. C, Rm. 126, Toronto, ON M5R 1M3
Nov 14-Dec 30 201Across Ontario & Saskatchewan
(Touring Cast)
Fri Sept 14 2018 @ 5:00pm Sun Sept 16 2018 3:00-5:00pmCarousel Dance Centre,
550 D7 Parkside Drive, Waterloo
Nov 14-Dec 30 2018Across Ontario & Saskatchewan
Touring Cast (Call Back)N/A - Call BackMon Sept 17 20186:00-7:30pmCanada's Ballet Jörgen Studios in
George Brown College, Casa Loma Campus,
160 Kendal Ave. Bldg. C, Rm. 126, Toronto, ON M5R 1M3
Nov 14-Dec 30 2018Across Ontario & Saskatchewan
PeterboroughFri Aug 24 2018 @ 5:00pm ESTSun Aug 26 2018TBAShowplace Performance Centre, 290 George St N, PeterboroughNov 29 2018Showplace Performance Centre
WeyburnTBATBATBATBANov 14 2018Cugnet Centre
Regina TBATBATBATBANov 16 2018Conexus Centre
SaskatoonTBATBATBATBANov 18 2018TCU Place
Swift CurrentTBATBATBATBANov 21 2018The Sky Centre
GuelphFri Sept 7 2018 @ 5:00pmSat Sept 8 20189:15am-12:45pmCentennial Collegiate Institute, 289 College Avenue West, Guelph Dec 20-21 2018River Run Centre
Toronto (Local Cast) TBATBATBACanada's Ballet Jörgen Studios in
George Brown College, Casa Loma Campus,
160 Kendal Ave. Bldg. C, Rm. 126, Toronto, ON M5R 1M3
Dec 5-6 2018Betty Oliphant Theatre
TBATBATBATBADec 8 2018Hamilton Place
BrantfordFri Sept 21 2018 @ 5:00pmSat Sept 22 2018TBATBADec 9 2018Saunderson Centre for the Performing Arts
LondonFri Sept 28 2018 @ 5:00pmSat Sept 29 20189:15am-12:45pmLester B Pearson School for the Arts, 795 Trafalgar Street, LondonDec 23 2018Centennial Hall
OttawaFri Oct 12 2018 @ 5:00pmSat Oct 13 2018TBATBADec 12-13, 15 2018Shenkman Arts Centre (Dec 12-13) & Centrepointe Theatre (Dec 15)
Kitchener-Waterloo (Local Cast)Fri Oct 12 2018 @ 5:00pmSun Oct 14 20182:30-6:45pmCarousel Dance Centre,
550 D7 Parkside Drive, Waterloo
Dec 28 2018Centre in the Square
MarkhamTBATBATBATBADec 30 2018Flato Markham Theatre
*Touring Cast members (11-15) are aged 12+ and perform in 10-12 shows each between Nov 24-Dec 30 2017. All touring cast members rehearse in Toronto and Kitchener.
















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.















Roles Descriptions in Order of Appearance

White-tailed Deer – The Deer pull Klara and the Nutcracker Prince’s sleigh. They transport them after the battle to the Kingdom of Snow.

Beaver – The Beaver paddles Klara and the Nutcracker Prince in the canoe. They take them from the Kingdom of Snow to the Summer Land in the Second Act.

Frogs – The Frogs welcome Klara and the Nutcracker Prince to the Summer Land in the Opening of the Second Act.

Bear Cub – The Bear Cub appears sleepy then playfully in the Opening of the Second Act and during Mother Spruce, scaring the squirrels and chipmunks away.

Squirrels – The curious Red Squirrels lead Klara and the Nutcracker Prince deeper and deeper into the Summer Land and introduce them to Lord and Lady Birch as well as all the other Creatures of the Forest.

Dragonflies – The Dragonflies are from the Summer Land, in the second act, and they perform with the Dragonfly dancer from the Company.

Mother Spruce Squirrels & Chipmunks – These dancers are red Squirrels and Chipmunks from the Summer Land in the second act. They come out from underneath Mother Spruce’s branches to perform for Klara and the Nutcracker Prince. The Chipmunks are also briefly in the Opening of the Second Act.

Brantford ONGuelph ONHamilton ONKitchener ONLondon ON
Markham ONNorth Bay ONOttawa ONPeterborough ONRegina SK
Saskatoon SKSt. Catharines ONSwift Current ONToronto ONWeyburn SK


What you need

For the Audtion
  • 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.
For the Rehearsal(s):
  • 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.
For the Performance(s):
  • 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.















Eyeliner (brown)
Eye shadow (neutral tone)
Lipstick (subtle and no lip gloss)
*No sparkles please!

Due to the allergies of others, please use gel instead of hairspray and consider scent free products.


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

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For program information please contact Clea Iveson or 416.415.5000 Ext 4928