The Nutcracker has become such a popular holiday season event it may surprise you to learn that not until George Balanchine produced his now famous version with the New York City Ballet in 1954 did it become a standard. Indeed, it is the one ballet that makes enough money for many companies to support the rest of their seasons.
While there are many fine productions in the metro area, the Colorado Ballet's is by far the most lush and professional. The sets are elegant and imaginative, the costumes bright and dreamy, the orchestra grand, and the dancers top-notch.
In this year's production, the handsome Zhuang Hua and the lithesome Chandra Gercke are the Nutcracker Prince and Clara—a fine pairing that allows Hua to exhibit his strength and Gercke her youthful mien.
The specialty dances in the second act are, as always, a treat—the Spanish snappy, the Arabian exotic, the Chinese delightful, the Russian explosive, and the Marzipan coquettish.
The classical pas de deuxs and solos of Maria Mosina and Igor Vassin as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier are divine.
Herr Drosselmeyer's magic is behind all this eye-popping fantasy, and the wind-up Columbine and Pierrot and the Nurse and Soldier dolls are a comedic hit. The battle between the Mice and the Soldiers is well staged and dramatic.
In all, it's a production that the kids, both young and old, won't soon forget. The Colorado Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, choreographed and directed by Martin Fredmann, runs through December 30th at the Auditorium Theatre. 303-893-4100.