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Contest: See The Colorado Ballet’s Dreamy “The Nutcracker”

Sink yourself into the glow of a dreamy, witty production of “The Nutcracker.” There is no better way to hit the pause button on a frantic holiday season. Year after year, Colorado families have folded “The Nutcracker” into their traditional celebrations. Why?

The Colorado Ballet breathes fresh, innovative life into Tchaikovsky’s charming Christmas fantasy. These aren’t your kids on their tippy-toes leaping around your living room to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” As fun as that is, The Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” showcases strong, athletic dancing while remaining lovely, delicate, and enchanting. The choreography is inspired, along with tiny elements of whimsy. A facial expression, a sip from a shimmering champagne flute, or rats performing CPR—The Colorado Ballet has nailed the production from top to bottom.

Seeing “The Nutcracker” live is a sensory experience. You don’t get the same effect from watching it on TV or a DVD. The Ellie Caulkins Opera House, housed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, is a storied, beautiful venue. From the heavy red velvet curtains to the orchestra pit, experiencing a ballet there feels like a sumptuous treat. The Colorado Ballet orchestra is top-notch as well. The warmth and tone of live music enhances every majestic element on stage. The beauty of ballet isn’t just in the dancing. Music, costuming, and set design are nearly as nimble and enchanting as the dancers themselves.

Dana Benton and Gregory Gonzales by Mike Watson

When you go to The Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” watch for your child’s eyes to light up like the magical Christmas tree. They’ll see a whimsical battle, a flying sleigh, a blizzard of snowflakes, a trove of dancing sweets. They’ll debate whether Clara’s adventure was real or just a dream. They’ll go home wishing for a few things, too:

1. To take ballet lessons, if they don’t already.

2. To have a closet full of eye-popping twirly dresses.

3. To be singled out to receive a magical toy.

4. To fly off to a wonderland of color, flavor, and beauty.

5. To sleep under an enormous, magical Christmas tree.

Parents can feel that way, too. If it were socially acceptable to go to the grocery store encased in 25 yards of glittering violet chiffon and toe shoes, I would. Maybe that’s why, year after year, “The Nutcracker” reigns as one of the more beloved holiday traditions. The Colorado Ballet company’s production charms the child in every harried grown-up.

Take a break. Give yourself a treat. Go.


Could your holiday season use more leaps, twirls, and whimsy? Yes. We are thrilled to extend a chance for our readers to become a child again, for at least two hours. Tutu not included.

To buy tickets, check availability, or for more information on “The Nutcracker” and future productions, visit The Colorado Ballet’s website.

(Photos provided by The Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” copyright Mike Watson)


Enter to win a 2-pack of orchestra level tickets to the Thursday, December 17th, 2015 7:30 pm performance of the Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”. Please, only enter if you can attend this specific performance. A winner will be chosen on December 10th, 2015. You may enter as many as five times.

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The Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker Enchants All

A holiday season without The Nutcracker is a few twirls short of magical. Generations have made listening to Tchaikovsky’s familiar suite part of their celebrations. I love how here in Colorado, we have the world-class Colorado Ballet dedicated to performing The Nutcracker for families. Not only can we hear the lovely, poignant, energetic score, we can see it how it was meant to be seen: With wonder, with skill, with love, though dance.

I was excited to take my ten-year-old son, Joel, to a recent performance at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Nutcracker has a reputation for being a great mommy-daughter date. Of course, ladies of all ages filled the expansive theater dressed in their holiday best, but there were plenty of guys on hand experience the fun. I think it’s really important to share the arts with our boys. Don’t assume that just because you can’t pincurl their hair they won’t like ballet. Appreciating the art—and athleticism— of ballet can come easily for girls and boys, especially when their first introduction happens to be The Nutcracker.