Gregory K. Gonzales with artists of Colorado Ballet. Credit: Mike Watson
BY CLAUDIA CARBONE
Some things bear repeating, whether for pure enjoyment or to carry on tradition, such as turkey on Thanksgiving, skiing on New Year’s Day or watching La Boheme for the 20th time.
The Nutcracker during the holiday season is one such event. For 57 years, Colorado Ballet has been giving us the beloved Christmas classic, and last year the 10th annual Goldstar National Nutcracker Awards chose it as “the best-loved Nutcracker in the country.”
“We have known for a long time how special our production is as a family tradition, and being named the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S. proved what an amazing and enchanting holiday classic we have right here in Denver,” said Artistic Director Gil Boggs.
So, we go year after year, but not because we don’t remember the storyline of little Clara, whose magical godfather gives her a wooden nutcracker on Christmas Eve and her fanciful dream that follows.
We go for the gorgeous scenery and costumes by Jose Varona—the lavishly dressed party guests at the 19th-century European estate decked out for Christmas, the whimsical Land of the Sweets, and perhaps the most beautiful scene in ballet, the Land of the Snow. Here, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince perform a lovely pas de deux followed by “The Waltz of the Snowflakes” by the corps de ballet dressed in pale turquoise tulle. As they dance, snow falls, lightly at first, then heavier. Each performance uses 100 pounds of the tiny paper snow.
We go for the enchanting score by Tchaikovsky, the most famous songs now known as “The Nutcracker Suite” since the ballet debuted in Russia in 1892.
We go for the choreography by Martin Fredmann and Sandra Brown. The dancers who entertain Clara and the prince in the Land of the Sweets depict such diverse cultures as Arabian, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and German. “The Waltz of the Flowers” is the most colorful set, and “The Dance of the SugarPlum Fairy” with her prince is likely the most famous pas de deux in all of classic ballet.
And we go for the adorable children who perform as party guests, mice, toy soldiers, horn blowers (especially cute) and more. About 90 of them divided into three casts all are students from Colorado Ballet Academy.
Don’t miss your chance to go. Performances run through Dec. 24 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Visit coloradoballet.org or call 303-837-8888 ext. 2.
Claudia Carbone is an award-winning journalist covering performing arts, travel and dining. Follow her on Sleepin’ Around—A Hotel and Travel Blog.
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