Skip to main content
Report this ad

Colorado Ballet's Nutcracker Shines

Dancer Jesse Marks
Dancer Jesse Marks
Colorado Ballet

It's Nutcracker Ballet season - and nobody does it like Colorado Ballet. Last year, I had the opportunity to watch both Ballet Nouveau Colorado and Colorado Ballet perform Marius Petipa's timeless classic, and Colorado Ballet absolutely blew me away.

This year was no different. The sets and costumes act as gorgeous framework for the ballet, with impressive scenery especially during the first act, as Clara and The Nutcracker Prince both become doll-like against larger than life-sized rocking horses and presents. 

The fight scene choreography was particularly impressive, with the toy soldiers in perfect unison, the mice showing lighthearted comedic timing, and The Nutcracker and King Rat duking it out amongst cannon blasts - complete with smoke and light effects. 

The snow scene, always a personal favorite, showcased Clara and The Nutcracker as opposed to a Snow Queen and King. I suppose I had forgotten this detail from last season, and at first was a bit disappointed I wouldn't be able to witness the Snow Queen performing 32 consecutive fouettés en tournant. However, Clara, performed by Caitlin Valentine-Ellis, is such a breathtaking performer, that the pas de deux between her and the Nutcracker Prince made me completely forget the lack of a Snow Queen and King.

Choosing a corps de ballet dancer as Clara, as opposed to casting a child in the role, was a strong choice for Colorado Ballet.  I  recall seeing Valentine-Ellis perform the role of Lead Fairy in Midsummer Night's Dream a few years ago, and pondering the same thing that I did this past Saturday evening, "This girl is only a corps de ballet dancer?" 

That being said, featuring Clara as a more prominent player in the cast, rather than just cuddling her doll in the party scene, and sitting out the entire second act as she watches the dancers in the Land of Sweets, was the perfect opportunity to showcase Valentine-Ellis' strengths. Beyond a strong technique, Valentine-Ellis posseses a lightness that makes her the ideal choice for the child-like Clara or a fairy. Her grand jeté series during the fight scene was weightless.

The Second Act was highlighted by the playful Chinese character (Rylan Schwab) who made excellent use of the stage space, and by the always hilarious Mother Ginger and accompanying Polichinelles. The Russian scene choreography, always a crowd pleaser, was lackluster for the female role, played by Casey Dalton. The gymnastic like movements, well executed by Sean Omandam and Christopher Ellis, overshadowed Dalton's talents. 

The Sugar Plum Fairy, danced in a visibly Russian style by Principle Maria Mosina, left a little something to be desired. Mosina is an incredibly strong dancer, with impeccable technique, but there were times I craved more usage of epaulment, or perhaps a lighter feeling lift at the end of a series of piqué turns or a deep penchée - a little more "sugar" in the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

And of course, nothing highlights the ballet more than a live orchestra. Tchaikovsky's famous score was conducted by Colorado Ballet Orchestra's Adam Flatt, and acted as the final, magical touch. 

Watching Colorado Ballet's Nutcracker was just as much of a treat as it was the previous year, and has certainly become a permanent fixture in my Denver Holiday favorites.

The following dates and times still remain:

The Nutcracker Sat Eve:

Sat 12/18/10 7:30PM

The Nutcracker Sun Mat:

Sun 12/19/10 2:00PM

The Nutcracker Sun Eve:

Sun 12/19/10 6:30PM

The Nutcracker Tues Eve:

Tue 12/21/10 6:30PM

The Nutcracker Wed Mat:

Wed 12/22/10 1:00PM

The Nutcracker Wed Eve:

Wed 12/22/10 6:30PM

The Nutcracker Thurs Mat:

Thu 12/23/10 1:00PM -

The Nutcracker Thurs Eve:

Thu 12/23/10 6:30PM

The Nutcracker Fri Mat:

Fri 12/24/10 1:00PM -

The Nutcracker Sun Mat:

Sun 12/26/10 2:00PM

The Nutcracker Sun Eve:

Sun 12/26/10 6:30P

Tickets start at $19 and are going fast! Be sure to visit to purchase yours today.

All performances are at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, located in downtown Denver, Colorado.


Report this ad