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A holiday tradition

Kimberly Nicoletti

DENVER – Throughout the last 15 years, I’ve seen “The Nutcracker” a handful of times, but I haven’t seen a more delightful rendition of the ballet than this year’s Colorado Ballet performance.

Martin Fredmann, the artistic director of the Colorado Ballet, tightened “The Nutcracker” both musically and choreographically, which gives it a quicker pace.

The story opens with the Stahlbaum’s annual Christmas Eve party, where Clara receives a wooden nutcracker. She immediately falls in love with the mysterious object, which transforms into a life-size nutcracker at the stroke of midnight. It then turns into a prince, who takes her on an enchanted journey filled with radiant flowers, swirling snow dancers and Russian, Far East and Spanish dancers.

In past renditions, I preferred the second half to the first because it seemed more dynamic – especially with the ethnic dances. But Fredmann’s interpretation added a spark to the first half, making it as interesting as the second.

In the first half, Fredmann infuses the mice with humorous movements, making them much more interesting than I’ve ever seen.

Throughout the ballet, the set compliments the beauty of the dancers. When the Nutcracker brings Clara to the Land of Snow, the white backdrop, the white-costumed dancers and the falling snow transform the stage into a breathtaking fantasy world.

Though some of the dancers didn’t consistently convey the captivating strength they did in last season’s “Dracula,” the joy of the story, the costumes, the setting and the overall choreography distract viewers from any imperfections.

The Paramount Theatre, which hosts the ballet, also adds to the ambience. The newly remodeled, art deco theater will host “The Nutcracker” for the next 10 seasons.

The historic theater first opened its doors on Aug. 29, 1930. By 1979, it was the last remaining example of the 17 grand movie palaces built in the Denver area.

The theater required $2 million in renovations to support the Colorado Ballet’s production, including doubling the size of the stage and adding clearer sight lines in the upper balcony.

“The Nutcracker” is a perfect way to introduce children to the ballet because the colorful fantasy moves quick enough to keep their interest.

Tickets range from $20-74 and may be purchased online at

http://www.ColoradoBallet.com or through Ticketmaster.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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