It might only be May - but for hundreds of young dance hopefuls, including seven-year-old Avery Zazula of Langley, the chance to perform in a holiday tradition means Christmas came early.
Auditions for Goh Ballet's The Nutcracker took place at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver earlier this month, and 200 young dancers from across the Lower Mainland waited less than a week to find out if they made the cut.
Avery received confirmation that she's in, playing a lamb.
Winning a coveted role in the production means performing alongside critically acclaimed dancers from the New York City ballet with live accompaniment from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.
"Avery saw The Nutcracker last year and when she saw the notice that auditions were coming - well, she's had the flyer on her nightstand ever since," said her mom Jennifer. "She said 'I'm doing this' so here we are!"
Jennifer nervously waited outside the audition room while her daughter danced before the judges, including executive producer of The Nutcracker and prima ballerina Chan Hon Goh and choreographer Anna-Marie Holmes.
The Nutcracker rehearsals start this September. Goh Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker will take place from Dec. 19 to 23 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.
Established in 1979 by principal dancers of The National Ballet of China, Choo Chiat and Lin Yee Goh, the Goh Ballet Academy is now under the direction of Chan Hon Goh, former prima ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada. The Goh Ballet Academy has received international acclaim as one of the world's pre-eminent ballet schools.