Travelling ballet features local talent

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Three young dancers from Wellington County will be dancing this holiday season in the Ballet Jörgen Canada production of The Nutcracker.

The ballet will run at the River Run Centre in Guelph on Dec. 22 and 23, featuring local talent from each city on the tour.

At auditions in September, 23 local dancers were selected, representing 80 different dance schools in Guelph, Fergus, Orangeville and Waterloo.

In a press release officials stated, “The company’s Nutcracker Youth Program provides young dancers with the opportunity to perform with a professional dance company and, for those considering a career in dance, a valuable opportunity to experience the inner life and working of a ballet company.”

Representing Wellington this year are dancers Abby Petrie, Paige Dixon and Aliyah Schleen.

Petrie, 9, auditioned this year for the first time for Ballet Jörgen.


She was “a little bit nervous” dancing in the audition, but it all worked out as she was given the role of a frog.

Petrie was shocked to find out she had been cast.

“I was like what the heck just happened,” said Petrie.

Dixon, a 13-year-old  Grand River Dance Academy student, is dancing the role of a squirrel in The Nutcracker. She was five years old when she first started ballet.

“It’s really graceful,” Dixon said, noting it’s one of her favourite kinds of dance. She said she enjoys rehearsals for the production.

“They’re really fun” she said. “I get to dance with professionals.”

This is 10-year-old Schleen’s second year dancing in The Nutcracker.


Last year she played the role of a frog, and this year she is “really excited” to be playing both a frog and a chipmunk.

Schleen recalled her reaction to being cast in this year’s production

“I walked over to my mom and gave her a hug,” she said.


For the River Run Nutcracker performances, adult tickets are $53/$48, senior tickets are $49/$44 and student tickets are $36/$31. Tickets are on sale at the box office at 519-763-3000 or 1-877-520-2408 or

In the spirit of seasonal giving, the community is invited to Share The Magic and support the work of Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County.

By pledging a ticket at the discounted price of $20, patrons can give a seat to a child or family who might otherwise not be able to share the Nutcracker magic.

The box office can assist those wishing to give to Share The Magic.