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REVIEW: Colorado Ballet awes audience with "The Nutcracker"

By Alexandria Adair Vasquez
On December 2, 2013

  • Adam Still flys high during The Nutcracker. Mike Watson |Colorado Ballet

For anyone enrolled in classes at the local dance studio growing up, "The Nutcracker" is familiar as the two-part ballet that every dancer-in-training grows tired of performing each year during the holiday season. For everyone else, "The Nutcracker" is as much a celebrated hallmark of the holiday season as the smell of Christmas trees, poinsettias and Thanksgiving shopping sales.
This year Colorado Ballet ushered in its 53rd sugary-sweet season performance of "The Nutcracker" on Saturday at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Colorado Ballet has a particularly special relationship with "The Nutcracker." It was the first ever production that the local dance company took to the stage in 1961. Colorado Ballet, which is one of the state's oldest art institutions, is a nationally recognized dance company that started out with simple roots as a local
ballet school founded by Freidann Parker and Lillian Covillo.
Using expressive body language, enchanting choreography sequences and incredibly intricate set design as their needle and thread, the artistic staff at Colorado Ballet wove together the fantastical tale of "The Nutcracker:" a young girl named Clara whose toy soldier is transformed into a living, breathing prince.
Together they travel to magical lands, fight off gigantic rats, and eat delicious treats.
Clara wakes the next morning unsure if it was all a dream or not.
It seemed like audience members of all ages were able to let go of reality for a couple of hours and become immersed into the pastel, glitter-encrusted world that had been created on stage.
During the "Waltz of the Snowflakes," for example, the glistening fake snow that came down steadily heightened the dizzying effect of dancers swirling across stage.
And during the Arabian Coffee dance sequence, soloist Shelby Dyer seemed to hold the audience in wonder with her sultry body movements and controlled extensions.
Paying to watch a child and her toy magically transport to faraway lands with names like the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy may seem babyish to the average college student, but maybe that's the point.
For most students at the University of Northern Colorado, winter break is a chance to go home and connect with family again. Nothing quite says "fun for the whole family" like a group of life-sized rats pulling off technically perfect leaps and turns.
Visit the Colorado Ballet website at to purchase tickets or for a full list of productions and ticket prices.
As a helpful hint, use the STUDENT promotion code to see what discounts are available for college students.


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