Shino Liu, a South Surrey resident, dances in Goh Ballet’s “The Reality of a Dream: A Nutcracker Documentary,”

Shino Liu, a South Surrey resident, dances in Goh Ballet’s “The Reality of a Dream: A Nutcracker Documentary,”

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Surrey dancer, 15, in ‘The Reality of a Dream: A Nutcracker Documentary,’ streaming online

‘Goh Ballet wants to give us opportunities and experience to improve on stage. It’s really exciting,’ Shino Liu says

A Surrey-area dancer is among five featured in “The Reality of a Dream: A Nutcracker Documentary,” a new project produced by the Goh Ballet dance company.

The film shows Shino Liu, 15, and four other ballerinas preparing for the biggest performance of the year, and of their careers so far, while guided by prima ballerina Chan Hon Goh.

Online, the behind-the scenes documentary movie can be viewed free for a month, from Dec. 10 to Jan. 10. On gohnutcracker.com/dream, fill out a form to receive a link and password to watch the film.

“This look at the dancers’ personal circumstances, sacrifices and sheer determination is shown in parallel to the ballet company’s necessity to showcase perfection, and the ballet world’s incredible pressure,” an event advisory says. “This insider’s view of the enormous undertaking feels like a guilty pleasure, but at the same time, like a well-deserved holiday treat.”

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Born in Beijing, Shino began dancing at a young age and joined Goh Ballet at age 12. Notes a bio: “Shino is currently part of Goh Ballet’s Senior Professional School half-day combined academic program, training six days per week whilst receiving her education to realize her dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer.”

Filming of “The Reality of a Dream” was done over the past couple of months, explained Shino, who goes to school at Magee Secondary in Vancouver.

“I’m going to watch (the documentary) when it goes live, but there’s a trailer that’s been released, and I’ve watched that,” Shino said.

“Last year we didn’t get the chance to perform, because the pandemic was really bad,” she added, “so now Goh Ballet wants to give us opportunities and experience to improve on stage. It’s really exciting.”

The RBC-backed film project is directed by Ryan Mah, with Black Rhino Creative.

Performers in the documentary are no stranger to struggle or the desire to belong. One of the dancers, Douglas Oliveira, is a refugee from Brazil. The other featured dancers are Natalie May Dixon, Nathaniel Craig and Theepika Sivananthan.

The film also features interviews with celebrity ballet dancers including Karen Kain (National Ballet of Canada) and Céline Gittens (principal dancer, Birmingham Royal Ballet).

No question, the new documentary is different from Goh Ballet’s usual annual “Nutcracker” offering.

“There are certain rules in ballet,” Chan Hon Goh said, “but rules can be broken.”

Meantime, Surrey-area fans of Royal City Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will have to travel to New Westminster to see this year’s show. The company typically stages a run of pre-Christmas productions at Surrey Arts Centre as part of a regional tour, but not this year.

Instead, four “Nutcracker” shows will be staged Dec. 18-19 at Massey Theatre in New Westminster, 32 years after the company’s first such production, and following a one-year pause. Ticket and show details are posted on royalcityyouthballet.org and ticketsnw.ca, or call 604-521-5050.

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tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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