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This December a brand-new and uniquely Welsh version of The Nutcracker will be performed at The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre, as the family-favourite is transplanted into a Welsh family Christmas for the very first time. Featuring music by jazz composer Duke Ellington, Rubicon Dance Company in association with The Riverfront, premiere their first full-length production on Friday 10 – Sunday 12 December, choreographed by award-winning Jamiel Laurence.

Rubicon Dance Company is a brand-new professional dance company, created by social arts organisation, Rubicon Dance. The company was created in direct response to the crushing effect of the pandemic on talented dancers from Wales, all now graduating into an arts sector blighted by the impact of COVID-19. Seven of the eight professional dancers, now company members, undertook full-time pre-vocational training at Rubicon Dance.

Kathryn Williams, Director of Rubicon Dance, comments “Wales produces amazing professional dancers, but they seldom have the opportunity to join dance companies based in Wales, and the pandemic has only served to amplify this long-standing inequity. We couldn’t stand by and lose a generation of Welsh talent, and so we created Rubicon Dance Company. We are immensely proud of all our new company members – each one demonstrating how ordinary young people from the communities of Wales can achieve their dreams and dance with the athleticism of superheroes.”

This re-telling of The Nutcracker is seen through the eyes of lead protagonist, Carys Williams and re-imagines the traditional Mari Lwyd Welsh Folk character in Carys’ coming-of-age dream. This uplifting version of The Nutcracker explores themes of redemption and transformation with charm, humour and exhilarating dance.  Queer culture is also celebrated through the eyes of young Fysal, Carys’ brother.

This very special production features starring performances from Linda and Sheila, two members of Rubicon’s over 60s dance group, NuWave, which is based at The Riverfront. The production also features some of Rubicon’s current full-time students and members of Rubicon’s community programme.

Jamiel Laurence, choreographer of The Nutcracker, and Rubicon Dance Company’s brand-new Creative Director says: "Rubicon Dance Company is challenging the status quo by providing paid opportunities in Wales for graduates who, after years of training, still lack access to dance jobs. With Rubicon acting as a force for positive change in Wales, I was drawn to create a new style of Nutcracker in a contemporary modern ballet format. Working with the traditional score and introducing Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite I’ve used some of the traditional tale's elements whilst doing something different and distinctly Welsh with the story. Rubicon Dance Company's full-length debut is fun and engaging and invites audiences to spend time with their local theatres over Christmas."

Professional dancer and one of the company’s founding members Rebecca Long adds: “This is where it all began! My Rubicon journey started right here at The Riverfront, as part of the Rubicon Dance youth group, before going on to Rubicon’s full-time course. This year, I graduated with a first in dance from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and I was concerned about my future, with COVID-19 having such a huge impact on the sector. So, I’m thrilled to now be home, playing ‘Carys’ in the very first production of the Rubicon Dance Company. It is really very special.”

Leah Roberts, The Riverfronts Programming Officer comments ‘We were so delighted when Rubicon Dance Company approached us to create a brand-new Welsh version of festive classic The Nutcracker. The company have been hard at work rehearsing in our building since early September, so we have been so fortunate to have been able to see the show develop and take shape. It’s a really fantastic, feel-good show featuring eight of Wales’ most exciting professional dancers. We are so honoured to be giving these dancers their first professional role and are sure that they will go very far in their future careers.’

Five performances of The Nutcracker will take place between 10 and 12 December 2021 at The Riverfront Theatre, Newport. Tickets are available now by calling 01633 656757 or online at