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Beloved the world over, "The Nutcracker" is part of a new feature documentary taking viewers behind the curtain of Canada's famous Goh Ballet Academy's biggest performance of the year.

The heartwarming holiday classic, “The Nutcracker” is one of the most beloved ballets the world over. First performed in 1892, “The Nutcracker” tells the story of Clara, a young girl who dreams her toy nutcracker becomes a handsome prince who takes her on a magical journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets.

Since 2009, Goh Ballet Academy, Canada’s world-renowned school of classical ballet, has offered an exceptional production of “The Nutcracker” featuring some of the best local dancers at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.

Continuing their partnership with RBC as the production sponsor since 2010, this year, Goh Ballet will present a new feature documentary “The Reality Of A Dream,” available online exclusively from Dec. 10, 2021 until Jan. 10, 2021. “The Reality Of A Dream” takes viewers behind the curtain of the Academy’s biggest performance of the year.

A smiling young ballerina with group of young female dancers dressed as snowflakes waiting backstage

Photo Courtesy of Goh Ballet

The Reality of a Dream

In “The Reality of a Dream,” five teen hopefuls rehearse for “The Nutcracker,” guided by prima ballerina Chan Hon Goh, their mentor and former Principal Dancer at the National Ballet of Canada. Ms. Goh says the documentary is an opportunity to showcase the determination and resilience of some of Canada’s best dancers, particularly in light of the struggles facing the performing arts industry since the start of the pandemic.

“As dancers, as artists — as anyone in the performing arts — it is not our nature to quit,” she says. “We decided we must create an outlet for ourselves, to share with the world what we love to do. This documentary gives an intimate view as to what these five dancers are going through and how they are united in the common goal of being able to dance ‘The Nutcracker.'”

A young ballerina performing "The Nutcracker" onstage

Photo Courtesy of Goh Ballet

From young dancer to emerging artist

Among the dancers is 19-year-old Natalie May Dixon, from Calgary, Alberta. Dancing since she was three years old, Dixon joined Goh Ballet in the summer of 2021 to launch her professional career as a ballet dancer.

“The Nutcracker is always something that you look forward to,” she says. “I danced with the Alberta Ballet when I was younger in ‘The Nutcracker’ as a mouse. Now getting to come here and dance the bigger roles is a full-circle moment.”

She will be dancing the Spanish pas-de-deux, the Waltz of the Snowflakes and the Waltz of the Flowers. She is also an understudy for Dance of the Mirlitons.

In the documentary, Dixon is featured alongside four other dancers in “The Nutcracker”: Douglas Oliveira, Nathaniel Craig, Shino Liu and Theepika Sivananthan.

A young male ballet dancer in a prince costume and his dancing partner wait backstage

Photo Courtesy of Goh Ballet

Helping emerging artists get professional training and coaching

Ms. Goh’s annual Masterclass Series is presented by the Goh Ballet Canada Society and RBC providing aspiring dancers professional training and coaching.

“The focus of my Masterclass Series was how to find resilience, how to find a strength and how to put it into your work in any situation,” says Ms. Goh. “It was so rewarding to be able to offer my suggestions and what’s worked for me … I could see a turning point and that was such an emotional relief I was able to help give to them.”

For aspiring young artists, the financial cost of ballet training can be a huge barrier. As a recipient of the RBC Emerging Artists Grants since 2010, Goh Ballet allocates the majority of funding to scholarships. Twenty-one-year-old Mackenzie Hebein was one of the scholarship recipients this year, and her hard work and commitment paid off when she placed first in the contemporary category for her age group at the International Grand Prix Vienna in October 2021. “This is a true sense of pride and such a tremendous recognition,” says Ms. Goh.

Chan Hon Goh, Director, Goh Ballet Academy and Youth Company Canada, sits in the audience of theatre prior to a performance

A look inside the world of dance

Directed by Vancouver-based filmmaker Ryan Mah, “The Reality of a Dream” offers an up-close look at the sacrifices and perseverance of dancers, as well as insights into how “The Nutcracker” often affects the financial livelihoods of major dance companies.

“I think for audiences to have the chance to see the behind the scenes is going to be really interesting,” says Dixon. “People know a lot of work and time goes into this, but the really nitpicky corrections caught on camera are something I don’t think can be explained to the outside world. Those really fine details are drilled. I think that’s going to be really exciting to see on the screen.”

Ms. Goh added that the documentary would not have been possible without the production sponsorship of RBC.

“It’s transformational,” she says. “As somebody who runs an arts organization, we feel so indebted to the corporate leaders who believe in what we do.”

“The Reality of a Dream” is available to stream for free online from December 10 to January 10, 2022. Visit to register your information to receive a link and password to access the film.

Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. PST on January 10, 2022.

Learn more about how RBC helps emerging artists meet their full potential: RBC Emerging Artists Project