The Tutu Project

The Tutu Project


Snow Queen

The Snow Queen from The Nutcracker - First Performed December 26, 1964. Designed by Jürgen Rose. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

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, including 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, however the investment was worthwhile as it dazzled audiences for over 30 years.

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Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.