Alberta Ballet gracefully invited the public to explore their home
On Saturday, September 30th, I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Alberta Ballet at Doors Open YYC, a citywide event that allowed the public to visit numerous historical Calgary buildings and sites free of charge. These venues included The Calgary Tower, The Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, Simmons Mattress Building and Fort Calgary. I got to help the Alberta Ballet host their open house at the legendary Nat Christie Centre.
The Nat Christie Centre was originally named St. Mary’s Parish Hall, where it was used as a Catholic school and a community centre. In 1911, it was purchased by Canadian Northern Railway and used as a train station. For many years after that, the building stood vacant until Alberta Ballet re-developed it. The building is now named after past Calgary Exhibition and Stampede president Nat Christie, who outstandingly served the Stampede board from 1926 to 1932.
The Alberta Ballet, one of the top ballet companies in the world, uses the Nat Christie Centre as their company’s home base. This is where the company’s dancers take class every day and rehearse. In addition, the building also houses a large wardrobe space where costumes for upcoming productions are made and stored. All of the costumes for the current season can be found in this wardrobe facility, whereas the remainder of the company’s costumes is stored in a larger warehouse space.
So what was on display at the Nat Christie Centre this Saturday? The Alberta Ballet beautifully displayed costumes, set pieces and props from Love Lies Bleeding, The Nutcracker and their upcoming production of Othello. In the wardrobe room, headpieces from Nutcracker, wigs from Othello, and company pointe shoes were showcased.
Furthermore, company dancers and students from the school of Alberta Ballet were on hand to meet the public. It was an all-round exciting event that was a joy to help out at! Many thanks goes to fearless leaders Heather Dankert and Elizabeth Dolak for their efforts in coordinating this wonderful event!