A new production of The Nutcracker will see more than 100 people of all ages and performance experience come together from the Illawarra, Nowra and Sydney.
Illawarra On Pointe Productions aimed to make the cast and crew of the ballet as diverse as possible, with dancers ranging from six-years-old to some in their 60’s.
Meryl Dalton-Papalos, a retired Nowra dance teacher, is one of the eldest and said the production was a great platform for inexperienced performers to learn.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea if it continues because there’s lots of lots of musical production companies but there’s no strictly dance or ballet companies where the kids that do ballet have somewhere outside their own studios to perform,” Ms Dalton-Papalos said.
Principal dancer Chris Lavilles, 17, is one of many male dancers who will float across the stage.
He’s been studying dance at the Beverley Rowles School of Dance in Corrimal for 12 years and thinks Wollongong could definitely take a leaf out of Melbourne’s book.
“Culture in regards to dance could be improved a lot. Guys should definitely give it a go because it’s a really great experience,” he said.
Mr Lavilles said his favourite things about dance was the ability to express himself and flying, as in having the skill to jump high and glide through the air.
All lead characters will be played by same cast throughout the production, though the chorus dancers will change between Act 1 and Act 2 to allow more performance opportunities.
Ms Dalton-Papalos said of all the ballet's, The Nutcracker had “the most variety” and would appeal to all audiences.
“It’s not a ballet that you need to be a ballet connoisseur to be able to appreciate it. This is fun because there’s more acting and dancing, and the story behind it is a fantasy,” she said.
The sixty-dancers will be accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra playing the beautiful Tchaikovsky score along with a 20-piece choir.
The Nutcracker, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre from July 22 to 24.