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Dancing the fairytale dream

It is that time of year again. The time for snowflakes, flowers, mice, toy soldiers, a sugarplum fairy and a young girl named Clara to come together and tell the story of The Nutcracker. Every year Ballet Ouest dazzles Montreal audiences with its production of this fairytale ballet.

Founded by Margaret Mehuys in 1984, the company performs new ballets as well as a classical repertoire. They invite outside choreographers to create original works “from which a contemporary dance language can be constructed.”

Mehuys started the company when her ballet students expressed interest in performing. With money raised from a garage sale and donations from parents, Ballet Ouest was born 24 years ago. The company has come a long way.

“We perform in a big theatre with a professional crew,” Mehuys says. “There is an elaborate set with ten scenic drops, 130 costumes and 25 professional dancers. It has become a professional company.”

This year’s cast is comprised of 107 dancers ranging from ages 7 to 93. Evelyn Hansen-Gillis, 13, from Dorval and Karina Armuplu, 12, from Saint Laurent get to live out every young girl’s dream this year by playing the lead role of Clara. Dell Ross, 93, plays Clara’s grandmother in the opening party scene. “The beautiful thing about The Nutcracker is that it gives kids the chance to experience live performance,” says Mehuys about the young dancers.

Former Ballet Ouest dancers have gone on to train at the École Supérieure de Danse du Québec, the National Ballet School of Canada, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

Ballet Ouest dancers will be on their toes in their holiday production of The Nutcracker Saturday, December 6 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm and Saturday December 7 at 2 pm at Salle Pierre Mercure, Centre Pierre Peladeau, 300 de Maisonneuve E.

Info: 514-783-1245 or



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