The Reality of a Dream


Watching the heartwarming holiday classic, The Nutcracker, has been a beloved family tradition for families around the world for over a century. First performed in 1892, The Nutcracker is an integral part of every renowned classical ballet company’s repertoire and livelihood, with performances selling-out the world’s stages from December to January each year. In Vancouver, BC, since 2009 the internationally renowned Goh Ballet Canada has offered an enchanting rendition at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, featuring celebrated guest artists sharing the stage with shining local dance talents, and live accompaniment by the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. But what really goes on behind- the-scenes to bring this stunning production to life? This year, Goh Ballet presents a special feature documentary, The Reality of a Dream, airing online from December 10 taking viewers through a dancer’s perspective in the company's biggest performance of the year to show what it takes to be extraordinary as an emerging artist in the intricate world of ballet.

The Reality of a Dream is a behind-the scenes look at the making of The Nutcracker, and follows five teen hopefuls preparing for their roles as they are guided by prima ballerina, and Director of Goh Ballet, Chan Hon Goh. The documentary shares an inside look at the resilience, sacrifices, and sheer determination it takes to make it as a professional ballet dancer shown in parallel to the ballet company’s necessity to showcase perfection, and the ballet world’s incredible pressure.

The Nutcracker is not only the quintessential holiday ballet; it is, for some, a launching pad for a career, and for ballet companies, it can be make or break. Through the lens of award-winning filmmaker Ryan Mah, The Reality of a Dream shows how hard dancers need to work to get to the top of their craft. This insider’s view of the enormous undertaking feels like a guilty pleasure, but at the same time, like a well-deserved holiday treat!

“My profound respect for the artform of ballet is somewhat inseparable from The Nutcracker, the ballet that launched my career. At age 19, I was chosen to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy in Celia Franca’s version for The National Ballet of Canada. The opportunities that The Nutcracker affords students and professionals in developing their craft are insurmountable. This documentary gives an intimate view as to what dancers are going through and how they are united in the common goal of being able to dance The Nutcracker,” said Chan Hon Goh.

The Reality of a Dream not only showcases Goh Ballet’s dancers but also features exclusive interviews with celebrities in the ballet world such as Karen Kain, Artistic Director Emerita of The National Ballet of Canada, Céline Gittens, Principal Dancer of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, James Stout, Principal Dancer of the Dutch National Ballet, and more.

Celebrate the season with a complimentary screening of The Reality of a Dream, available to stream online only from December 10 to January 10, 2022. Visit to register your information to receive a link and password to access the film!

Click here to watch the trailer!

~ Goh Ballet



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