Dancing into the holidays with “A Nutcracker Celebration”

If you’ve been hearing silver bells and feeling Jack Frost nipping at your nose, you aren’t going crazy. December is almost here which means the holiday season is upon us. And if you are already tired of seeing gaudy Christmas decorations in storefront windows, Gallery 78 in Fredericton has another option for getting in the spirit of the season.

The gallery’s A Nutcracker Celebration exhibit opened on Nov. 4. The collection features works inspired by the famous Nutcracker ballet from roughly 20 artists across Canada.

The exhibition was created to celebrate Dance Fredericton’s 10 year anniversary of performing the Nutcracker.

A painting of one of Pataki-Theriault’s daughters in costume.

Germaine Pataki-Theriault has been the director of Gallery 78 for twelve years. Both of her daughters perform with Dance Fredericton, and have even posed for some of the pieces of art featured in the exhibit.

“We wanted to celebrate [Dance Fredericton’s] achievements so we asked some artists if they’d like to participate, and they really did,” she said.

Representing dance and ballet with visual art seemed like a natural fit for Pataki-Theriault, who says the gallery often incorporates other art mediums into their space, including concerts and poetry readings.

“We like to integrate the different aspects of art, whether it’s literary, performing or visual art,” Pataki-Theriault said.

Guests at the opening had the opportunity to mingle with the artists in the bright, cozy gallery space, setting the mood of a holiday soiree.

The pieces ranged from oil and acrylic paintings, drawings, jewelry, wooden and clay sculptures, and porcelain pottery.

Stephen May is one of the artists participating in the exhibition. His works have been displayed Gallery 78 for many years, and he said he is frequently asked to contribute to group shows and themed exhibits.

May’s artistic style tends to be inspired by French impressionist artists like Degas and Monet.

“It’s kind of fun to do a costume piece with the tulle and the colours and the non-sort of everyday clothes which tend to be these days kind of drab. It’s not like in the olden days where a painting of somebody in the fashion of that day and there’s sort of stuff to look at – painter’s problems,” May said.

This exhibit not only opens the door to the holiday season, but it celebrates the hard work, commitment and love of dancing of Dance Fredericton’s amateur performers.

The exhibit will be up until Nov. 27th. Dance Fredericton will be giving their performance of the Nutcracker Ballet at the Playhouse the same weekend.