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  • Writer's pictureClassical Ballet Academy

The Nutcracker: Beloved Holiday Tradition

On a crisp Colorado morning the autumn sum streams into a large dance

studios window, revealing a rehearsal underway. Familiar music fills the space;

evil rat kings leap, life size nutcracker soldiers battle, dancing candy temps as

one watches enthralled. In many ways, this all sounds more like a terrifying fever

dream, but for the Ballet Melange company and their audience, it is a sign that

another magical Nutcracker season has arrived.

Every dance company has an air of excitement this time of year when they get

to revisit the seasonally beloved Nutcracker ballet. Ballet Melange is no different,

as they prepare for their November 19th-21st 2021 performances, hosted by

Lakewood Cultural Center in Colorado. Many families can speak to their

personal traditions revolving around their Nutcracker holiday performances, and

the pre-professional dancers of Ballet Melange and students of their sister

school Classical Ballet Academy love being a part of those memory making

moments. If you are thinking at this point that you have seen Nutcracker before,

Ballet Melange asks you to take a second look and come see our classic version

brought to new life today.

Nutcracker ballet versions have developed from a rich history and vary when it

comes to choreography and story, but the score is always quintessentially

Tchaikovsky's. Ballet Melange performs the Russian version choreographed by

the iconic Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Elizabeth Shipiatsky, the artistic

director and owner, likes this version because it is the closest to the original

choreography. “I grew up dancing every part of this ballet, while I was a student

of Vaganova Ballet Academy. I think that because Petipa and Tchaikovsky

worked on every measure of the musical score together, the choreography

reflects the music of Tchaikovsky the best.” Elizabeth has made some small adjustments with some of the choreography however, and amusing surprises happen. Without giving too much away, a post-party scene with mice is the perfect example of this. Elizabeth tells us “I invited my great friend and a fellow choreographer Tatiana Andonova to choreograph this scene in 2018; she did an amazing job. All of our dancers just love to perform this part!” It is thrilling to watch and has a very ominously captivating quality about it. There is simply so much to see and delight in that Ballet Melange hopes you will come to their upcoming performances and uncover all there is to this traditional and yet current showing of The Nutcracker.

Authored by: Cortni Mullin

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