Over the past 11 years, Chan Hon Goh has directed 11 productions of The Nutcracker. This year, there’s no live performance—but you can bet the Sugar Plum Fairy will still dance. In the fall, Goh and her team shot their first ever film version of the show that, for many local families, has become a holiday tradition. “Even thought our fans are not able to see Goh Ballet’s Nutcracker at the theatre this year, we really wanted to share this holiday gift with them,” says Goh. “And it’s as much for the dancers as it is for the audience.”
Goh is a former principal dancer at the National Ballet of Canada, and has long been a champion of local arts. “What the arts do for mental health and well-being has been really brought to the forefront during the pandemic,” she says. Classes for youth and adults have continued (with mandatory health restrictions in place, of course) and Goh says she feels very fortunate to provide an outlet during these very difficult times. “For the young dancers that I work with, it’s about building hope and resilience,” says Goh.
Rather than simply a virtual version of the staged ballet, Goh’s new Nutcracker (called The Fallen Prince) is more like a film, with a script and storyline closer to a movie you’d see in theatres. “My idea behind the film is to bring the nostalgia and grandeur of The Nutcracker to the present day, and then look to the future,” says Goh. After over a decade of live performance, adapting to the screen was a welcome challenge. “It’s been fantastic for our dancers—for most of them, it is their first time on a film set, so I’m thrilled that they will have this lasting memory so early in their career.” Goh herself came out of retirement for the film—she makes a cameo in the production.
Below is the trailer for The Fallen Prince, which will be available to stream from December 18 to January 2. “I know that there are not enough dance-related films out there,” says Goh, “and we really hope that through this, we will engage more people to come and see us present live in the future.”