Two young ballerinas from Co Clare are part of an elite cast of Ireland’s most talented ballet dancers who will perform the iconic Christmas favourite The Nutcracker as part of the Irish National Youth Ballets (INYB) winter programme, it has been announced.
The show will run from 8th-10th of December at The Helix, Dublin.
Ciara Needham, age 12, from Killaloe, and Aisling Hammond, age 16, from Quin, are part of an all-island troupe of 45 dancers — 11 of whom are male, ranging in age from 9 to 18 — who will recreate the winter wonderland of The Nutcracker on the stage of The Helix’s Mahony Hall.
The professionally trained young dancers were handpicked out of 142 who auditioned for the INYB’s 2022 season from across the island of Ireland. Ciara is trained by Turning Pointe School of Dance in Killaloe and Aisling is trained by The Dinan School of Ballet in Ennis.
This will be the first unrestricted run of winter shows for the Irish National Youth Ballet since before the pandemic. Audiences can expect to see Ireland’s best young dancers, including Ciara and Aisling, bring many of ballet’s most-loved characters and set-pieces to life, from wooden soldiers, dancing mice, a ‘Land of Sweets’ and the Sugar Plum Fairy, to the highly anticipated pas de deux— between the Snow Queen and the Prince amid falling moonlit snowflakes — all set to The Nutcracker’s famous score by Tchaikovsky.
Announcing the winter season performances, Artistic Director of Irish National Youth Ballet Lindsay Ashe-Browne, said: “We are so excited to be coming back before a full live audience this winter season in The Helix and to be performing one of the most-loved ballets of all. To dance with Irish National Youth Ballet, you really do need to be among the best dancing talent on the whole island. The performance level is akin to elite athletics. The audition process is strict and competitive, and our dancers are highly trained.
“This December, audiences can look forward to a magical and unforgettable experience from the exceptionally talented young dancers who make up The Nutcracker cast. They each have an unrelenting passion, commitment, and gift for ballet, including Ciara Needham from Killaloe and Aisling Hammond from Quin, Co Clare. Many of our dancers have gone on to become fulltime professional career ballet dancers worldwide, which is a remarkable achievement given the level of competition. So, people are really in for a treat this December!
“We are very grateful for the support we receive from Arts Council Strategic Funding, ‘Friends of the Company’, RTÉ Supporting the Arts and Dance World, who help us in our work in developing and promoting the best of dance talent on the island of Ireland and in bringing it to audiences.”
Performance Times and Tickets
A matinee and evening performance will take place on each day as follows:
Thursday, 8th December: matinee performance, 11.00am; evening performance, 8.00pm.
Friday, 9th December: matinee performance, 2.00pm; evening performance, 8.00pm.
Saturday, 10th December: matinee performance, 1.30pm; evening performance, 8.00pm.
Tickets for the Irish National Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Mahony Hall, The Helix, Dublin 9, are now on sale at www.thehelix.ie. Ticket prices range from €10-€25.