Ballet in the park

Dancing the Nutcracker in July

From July 27 to 29, Ballet in the Park pirouettes into Assiniboine Park, giving Winnipeggers a chance to see ballet outdoors, completely for free. 

“It’s a great outdoor opportunity, and it’s fun to do,” André Lewis says, the artistic director at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. “It’s open, it’s exciting, and you get to see dancers really close. It’s very casual, there’s no sense of ‘Oh, you need appropriate clothing’ or anything; you just want to be protected from the mosquitos!” 

Ballet in the Park began in the early 1970s, when the open air theatre meant that there was no roof over the dancers, making the possibility of rain an issue. Lewis says there’s good reason the tradition has carried on, over 40 years later. 

“There’s a quality about it that you don’t get in an indoor show,” he says. 

“Every year we bring something different… We try to reach out to people that may not be able to see (ballet), that may not be able to afford to go to the concert hall and things of that nature. We want it to be an event that has something for everyone in the family.” 

Presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, Ballet in the Park has attracted more than 20,000 people each year. Audience members this year can expect food trucks to be present for performances of Cinderella as well as The Nutcracker at the Lyric Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. 

“Nutcracker in July!” Lewis says with a laugh. “You always need Nutcracker in July. Bring towels, blankets, lawn chairs, friends and family, make an evening!” 

Published in Volume 70, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 2, 2016)

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