This costume is one of the most frequently worn in the history of the National Ballet. The Nutcracker’s status as a perennial holiday favourite meant that nearly every female Principal Dancer with the National Ballet between 1964 and 1994 danced the role of the Snow Queen. These included Lois Smith, Veronica Tennant and Nadia Potts, who danced the role while still a member of the Corps de Ballet.
The National Ballet of Canada premiered its famed production of The Nutcracker shortly after debuting at Toronto’s O’Keefe Centre (now the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts). It featured choreography by Founder Celia Franca after Marius Petipa and designs by internationally acclaimed stage designer Jürgen Rose. Rose’s designs incorporated the motif of multi-faceted diamonds and gemstones, a symbol for crystalline snowflakes and a reminder of the shimmer of the Christmas season. When this production first premiered it was the most expensive theatrical production in Canada, costing approximately $100,000. The investment, however, was worthwhile as it dazzled audiences for over 30 years.