“I get to witness and be part of the process of learning choreography, making adjustments, refining it, and ultimately performing, all within the context of a ballet production.”
The CBJ Nutcracker season tour opened November 14 in Weyburn Saskatchewan, making stops in Regina, Saskatoon, and Swift Current. The Saskatchewan tour was especially meaningful to cast members Brett Stadnyk and Sierra Goldak, who grew up and trained in Saskatoon at La Danse School of Dance. Performing on stages across their home province was an exciting experience for both dancers, who were delighted to share the magic of CBJ’s holiday classic with Saskatchewan audiences.
Brett joined George Brown Dance’s one-year Dance Performance Preparation Program in September 2018. After only a few months in the program, he was selected to join CBJ’s Nutcracker Youth Touring cast, playing the roles of Farm Boy and Nutcracker Prince. CBJ’s Nutcracker Youth Program selects dancers ages 12 to 18 to travel and perform with the company. Reflecting on the opportunity to supplement his class training with professional touring experience, Brett explains: “It’s an aspect of training that most dancers in college dance programs wouldn’t usually get.” As a current GBD student, Brett says that touring with CBJ has helped him bring a stronger work ethic and discipline to the studio, as he has learned strategies to balance rehearsals with school.
For Sierra, a CBJ mentorship student and graduate of the GBD Dance Performance Program, it was the close relationship between CBJ and George Brown Dance that first attracted her to the college. “One of the things that drew me to the George Brown program was the opportunity to become a mentorship student after graduation,” she shares. CBJ’s Mentorship Program transitions George Brown Dance graduates from post-secondary training into professional dance. Sierra’s casting in CBJ’s 2018 Nutcracker season is one element of her immersive professional dance education as a mentorship student. As Sierra reflects: “I get to witness and be part of the process of learning choreography, making adjustments, refining it, and ultimately performing, all within the context of a ballet production. I have been introduced to some of the inner workings of one sector of the Toronto arts industry, which is fascinating.”
Among the several meaningful moments of their Saskatchewan tour was the experience of dancing with the company at TCU Place in their hometown of Saskatoon. The theatre was the site of their dance recitals, competitions, and high school graduations. Brett was wonderfully surprised to find himself back on his home stage after only a few months of training in Toronto with GBD: “After my last recital in June 2018, I told my grandma: ‘That will be the last time you’ll ever see me perform on this stage.’ She told me not to say that, because I might have an opportunity in the future to come back and perform here. A few months later, I told her I would be coming back with the touring cast!”
Now back in Toronto, Brett and Sierra are grateful for their touring experience. As Sierra shares, “I was excited to be a familiar face on stage with a company that has often toured through Saskatoon and is well known by local dancers for their training opportunities and performances.”
It was a very special experience for both dancers. As Brett sums it up: “Getting to do The Nutcracker in Saskatchewan was familiar, heartwarming and exciting!”
You can catch performances of The Nutcracker across Ontario. Visit our season calendar to find a show near you.
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