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Thank you for another great Nutcracker season!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Colorado Ballet's 55th annual production of The Nutcracker has officially come to a close at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  We want to thank everyone who helped make this the most successful Nutcracker in the history of Colorado Ballet!  More people attended this year's production than ever before, so whether it was your first time or your 55th, we hope you enjoyed our magical production.

Dana Benton and Gregory Gonzales by Mike Watson

Performance photos from The Nutcracker

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Here are a few performance photos from two different performances of Colorado Ballet's 55th annual production of The Nutcracker.

Artists of Colorado Ballet with Soldier Doll by Mike Watson

Dana Benton as Clara with mice by Mike Watson

Artists of Colorado Ballet and Colorado Ballet Academy in battle scene by Mike Watson

Asuka Sasaki and Francisco Estevez as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince by Mike Watson

Dana Benton and Yosvani Ramos as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince by Mike Watson

Yosvani Ramos and Artists of Colorado Ballet at the beginning of Act II by Mike Watson

Chandra Kuykendall in Arabian dance by Mike Watson
Ariel Breitman in Chinese dance by Mike Watson
Artists of Colorado Ballet in Mother Ginger scene by Mike Watson
Asuka Sasaki as Dew Drop and Artists of Colorado Ballet as Flowers by Mike Watson
Asuka Sasaki as Dew Drop by Mike Watson

Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov as Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier by Mike Watson
Sean Omandam as Russian dancer during Nutcracker finale by Mike Watson


Artists of Colorado Ballet during Nutcracker finale by Mike Watson

Dana Benton and Gregory Gonzales by Mike Watson

Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse the Russian dance from Act II of The Nutcracker

Friday, December 11, 2015


Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse the Russian dance from Act II of The Nutcracker.

KeyBank Presents Colorado Ballet's 55th annual
The Nutcracker

November 28-December 27, 2015
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
http://coloradoballet.org

Thousands of students from all over the world stream Colorado Ballet’s student matinee performance of The Nutcracker

Thursday, December 10, 2015

More than 100 sites from 10 Colorado cities and 27 states streamed Colorado Ballet’s free live student matinee performance of The Nutcracker on December 4.  In addition, students in England, Ireland, Ecuador, Greece, Italy and China also participated in the live stream event.

The majority of the sites were schools, but four hospitals including Denver Health also participated in the live streaming of The Nutcracker.  Approximately 3,000 students watched the performance online.

“The live stream is an amazing way to expose students to dance who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see our shows,” said Anne O’Connor, Colorado Ballet’s Director of Education and Community Partnerships.  “Teachers were really excited to be able to offer professional-level performing arts in areas where there is limited access.”

This is the second time that Colorado Ballet streamed a live production online during its student matinee series, which brings nearly 2,000 students to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to watch a ballet performance with full sets, costumes and a live orchestra.  Colorado Ballet opens its fall and spring student matinee productions to all interested schools and school groups, but The Nutcracker student matinee has always been an invitation-only performance presented at no cost to the highest percentage Title I schools.  While the in-person student matinee this year remained invitation-only, the live stream was open to any school or hospital that wanted to participate.

“The outpouring of interest from all over the world was incredible,” said O’Connor.  “Colorado Ballet truly has world-class talent and this was an amazing opportunity to demonstrate that to the world.  Colorado Ballet would also like to thank Rick Romano at JFR Holdings Corp and Duke Hartman at High Noon Entertainment for their help with the live stream.”

Here are a few comments from teachers who participated in the live stream:

  • “The 24 students LOVED it and were mesmerized by the music, dancing, lights, effects, and costumes!  As a matter of fact, I had the pleasure of watching many kids dancing, twirling, and pretending to play various musical instruments during recess.  We are a dual-language (Spanish/English) school and having this opportunity to watch a performance that can be understood in any language was incredible.”
  • “I am a kindergarten teacher at a high poverty impacted school here in Seattle and these kids were GLUED to the screen the entire time. What a great experience for my kids who may never get a chance to see such a beautiful performance!”
  • “We are a low income school so opportunities like this that are so positive and uplifting and free are so needed.”
  • “I was amazed at how many students had never seen the Nutcracker before and to be able to show them one of the best productions I've ever seen was such a gift. I have students in this particular class that would usually be called troublemakers and spend a good deal of time not participating at all. When these students were watching the performance, they were completely captivated for the entire 40 minutes (hard to do) and they were even telling others to stop talking so they could enjoy the performance!”
  • “It was an opportunity that we were fortunate to be a part of, especially since many of our children have limited access to cultural and arts experiences. The performance was spectacular. I have seen the Nutcracker many times and this performance could be equally rivaled with the New York City Ballet!”

In addition to the professional dancers and Academy students performing in The Nutcracker student matinee, the performance also included two performers from the Be Beautiful Be Yourself program, a partnership between Colorado Ballet and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

For more information on the student matinee series, please contact Anne O’Connor at anne.oconnor@coloradoballet.org.

A kindergarten class participates in the live stream of Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker

History of The Nutcracker

Monday, December 07, 2015

The Nutcracker ballet has always been a traditional holiday favorite for many families. From elaborate costumes to the sounds of the orchestra, this ballet has become a timeless classic. With all of the popularity, not many know that the Nutcracker was actually a failure when it first premiered, partially because of its confusing choreography.

The ballet was also based off the book by E.T.A. Hoffman titled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Both critics and parents alike thought this original was too dark and not meant for kids to watch. With the help of a French writer named Alexandre Dumas, it was rewritten to be more family friendly.

Some differences between Hoffman’s and Dumas’s versions are the names of the main character, the girl who is given the Nutcracker as a gift. Hoffman’s version has her named as Clara, while in Dumas’s version she is named Marie.

Although there are several adaptations, the Nutcracker is a tradition for the holidays and will remain a classic for many years to come. It has also become a much bigger success since its initial premiere and is a must-do for many ballet companies every year because of the high demand.

Sources:
http://unprofessionaltranslation.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-diversion-nutcracker.html
Delphine Dubois. Histoire d'un casse-noisette. Alexandre Dumas: deux siècles de littérature vivante. Société des Amis d'Alexandre Dumas.

http://www.jhodance.com/docs/JHONutcrackerTeacherGuide.pdf
http://www.salon.com/2014/12/24/the_nutcrackers_disturbing_origin_story_why_this_was_once_the_worlds_creepiest_ballet/


Dana Benton and Francisco Estevez by Allen Birnbach

Facts about Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker

Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Did you know?
  • Colorado Ballet has been performing The Nutcracker for 55 seasons! The Company presented its very first production of The Nutcracker at the Bonfils Theater in Denver to sold out audiences in 1961.
  • The production continues to remain as popular as ever; most performances are completely sold out!
  • It takes a lot of people and moving parts to create The Nutcracker. Our 015 production includes: 
    • 30 Company dancers
    • 15 Studio Company dancers
    • More than 80 Academy students
    • Several guest performers
    • A full orchestra of musicians
    • More than 300 costumes.
  • During each performance: 
    • Stagehands drop more than 100 pounds of artificial snow on stage.
    • Use more than 50 pounds of dry ice to create fog.
Photo from Colorado Ballet's 1961 production of The Nutcracker

Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse the Spanish dance from Act II of The Nutcracker

Monday, November 30, 2015


Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse the Spanish dance from Act II of The Nutcracker.

KeyBank Presents Colorado Ballet's 55th annual
The Nutcracker

November 28-December 27, 2015
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
coloradoballet.org

Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse Snow scene from The Nutcracker

Friday, November 27, 2015


Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse Snow scene from The Nutcracker.

KeyBank Presents Colorado Ballet's 55th annual
The Nutcracker
November 28-December 27, 2015
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
http://coloradoballet.org

Interview with Yosvani Ramos about The Nutcracker

Monday, November 23, 2015


This is an interview with Colorado Ballet principal dancer Yosvani Ramos about dancing the Nutcracker Prince and the Cavalier in The Nutcracker.  The video includes rehearsal footage of Yosvani Ramos, Dana Benton and Sharon Wehner.
 
KeyBank Presents Colorado Ballet's 55th annual
The Nutcracker
November 28-December 27, 2015
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
http://coloradoballet.org

Colorado Ballet talks about The Nutcracker on Colorado & Company

Friday, November 20, 2015

Artistic Director Gil Boggs, principal dancer Dana Benton and soloist Francisco Estevez talk about The Nutcracker on 9News' Colorado & Company.

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