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Forecast calls for fairytale snow and reindeer

Canadian Pacific Ballet stages fantasy based on Andersen's Snow Queen

ON STAGE

What: The Snow Queen, by Canadian Pacific Ballet

When: 8 p.m., Friday

and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday

Where: McPherson Playhouse

Tickets: $72.25 to $52.25, $10 off for children under 12. Call 250-386-6121 or online at www.rmts.bc.ca

Wearing a costume trimmed in 10 metres of white fur and glistening with 1,000 one-inch sequins, Roberta Taylor will kick off Canadian Pacific Ballet's fall season of romantic dance in the title role of The Snow Queen.

The fairytale confection, based on the 163-year-old story by Hans Christian Andersen, recounts the chilling story of a boy called Kay who gets a shard of glass in his eye and loses his ability to see the world clearly. His personality changes and he is enticed away by an icy queen, to her frigid lair at the North Pole.

Rescue and redemption come in the form of his courageous best friend, Gerda, who undertakes the dangerous journey through Lapland to find him and release him from the spell.

"It is a fabulous story about the struggle between good and evil, an enchanted journey where purity of heart and innocence triumph over evil," said Taylor, who choreographed her original ballet to the music of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana and Russian composer Anatoly Liadov.

"We are telling the story through gorgeous costumes and beautiful classical dance," some of which is extremely challenging for the dancers, she explained. "But we have been together almost two years now so we have a really tight corps doing some amazing work."

It's a perfect holiday piece with dancing snowflakes, a lively reindeer, and even a new company dancer born in Sweden. Anna Petersen, who trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School is performing with the company for the first time -- adding a note of authenticity to the northern European tale, joked Taylor.

Costume designer Graham McMonagle, who plays the part of the reindeer, has included some Danish dash and "hybridized" flair to his costumes, but his favourite is the Snow Queen's gown with its huge train of sparkles.

"I spent most of September making it, but that's all right because we hope to keep this piece in our repertoire for many years. The Snow Queen is a great non-denominational story for the holiday season, a vision of beauty. It's a very ethical and moral story that speaks about love conquering all."

The family show has two acts and lasts about two hours.

glitwin@tc.canwest.com