The Nutcracker

The Colorado Ballet's refined version of the classic continues to shine, regardless of the casting on any particular night or changes in the company's roster. That is not to say that each and every dance is the same on any given night, but that the general level of excellence is such that there is a qualitative consistency to each performance which is certain to delight.

Dana Benton as Clara and Viacheslav Buchkovskiy as the Nutcracker Prince
Dana Benton as Clara and
Viacheslav Buchkovskiy as the Nutcracker Prince
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The Nutcracker is the financial bread and butter of the company (nothing unusual there, though one would like to envision a culture that supports ballet as well as it supports Broadway musicals), which has its advantages, too, in terms of the scope of spectacle, the holiday trappings, and the live orchestra.

Beyond the ritual of celebrating the fanciful aspects of the season, The Nutcracker serves up in dance what its story extols as treats—Spanish Hot Chocolate, Arabian Coffee, Chinese Tea, Russian Candy Canes, and Danish Marzipan, each magnificent glimpses of an exotic folk dance. Then there are the unique dances for the wind-up Columbine and Soldier, Clara and the Prince, the Sugarplum Fairy and the Cavalier, the soldiers, mice, crystals, snow, and flowers, and even dances for supernumeraries, young adults, and children.

Artists of the Colorado Ballet
Artists of the Colorado Ballet
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The consistency that we witness in these productions is a testament to the depth of the company, it's academy, and its community support, including those who generously donate to keep this cultural jewel in business.

In addition to the technical quality of the dances throughout the ballet, the acting is to be commended. One of the great gifts of dance is how it communicates without speaking, thus upholding the power of silence through art. If you pay attention to the body language, facial expressions, and character details, you'll notice how rich and finely detailed many of the secondary performances are.

Viacheslav Buchkovskiy as the Nutcracker Prince and Dana Benteon as Clara
Viacheslav Buchkovskiy as the Nutcracker Prince
and Dana Benteon as Clara
Photo: Terry Shapiro
On Saturday evening, Dana Benton and Viacheslav Buchkovskiy were a fine pairing as Clara and the Prince—the lifts were smooth, Benton was aglow with young love and Buchkovskiy gallant and attentive. The stature of Chandra Kuykendall and Igor Vassine lent a regal air to the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Their exacting pas de deux and solos looked effortless.

Chandra Kuykendall as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Igor Vassine as the Cavalier
Chandra Kuykendall as the Sugarplum Fairy
and Igor Vassine as the Cavalier
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The divertissements were a treat as always: the unmistakable flair of the Spanish (Casey Dalton, Faith Madison, and Kevin Gaël Thomas); the sublime eroticism of the Arabian (Sayaka Karasugi and Dmitri Trubchanov); the comical Chinese (Sean Omandam); the coquettish and spirited Marzipan (Asuka Sasaki, Shelby Dyer, and Jesse Marks); the exuberant and rousing Russian (Cara Cooper, Christopher Ellis, and Adam Still); and the charming Columbine (Casey Dalton) and Soldier Doll (Adam Still).

As always, Gregory Gonzales' Drosselmeyer is compelling. Adam Flatt and the 41-piece Ballet Orchestra deliver a fine rendition of the famous score.

The Colorado Ballet's 2010 The Nutcracker runs through Sunday, December 26th, including weekday and afternoon performances. 303-837-8888 or

Bob Bows


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