Nutcracker - by Luke Isley -195- Artists of Ballet West

With the longest running “Nutcracker” production in the country, Ballet West is filling this holiday season with terrific talent and incredible artistic style.

Beginning in 1944, this particular version of “The Nutcracker” was choreographed by William Christensen and has continued uninterrupted to this day. “The costumes, set designs and choreography are all a tribute to Mr. Christensen, the original founder,” said artistic director and CEO of Ballet West, Adam Sklute.

Many are unaware that Ballet West originated at the U. Speaking to why students should attend a Ballet West production, Sklute said, “It’s important for the U to remember the great history of Ballet West. […] We literally began at the U and many of our current dancers are former graduates.”

Ballet West is proud to share another successful run of “The Nutcracker,” especially since this season marks the final performance of the current physical production, including costume and sets, that has been a part of the show for many years. Next year, the company will unveil an entirely new set design and new costumes.

“We are incredibly excited about this final performance and the ending of an era, but also looking forward to creating a fresh appearance for next season,” said Sklute.

“The Nutcracker” has been a holiday staple for years and Ballet West is a seasoned deliverer of the holiday tradition. The ballet depicts the classic story of Clara, a young girl thrilled about Christmas, throughout a series of adventure-filled dreams. As Clara makes her way through various encounters, she crosses paths with the Snow Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy and an assortment of soldiers and other characters.

Accompanied by the brilliant Tchaikovsky’s soaring music, Christensen’s choreography is performed flawlessly by Ballet West and artists. Each number is energetic and beautifully accomplished.

Two unbelievable duos in the performance were Beckanne Sisk and Christopher Rudd as Snow Queen and her Cavalier, and Katlyn Addison and Chase O’Connell as Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Sisk and Rudd were breathtaking in a powerfully graceful rendition of the snow scene. Addison and O’Connell were a mature supplement to the show’s youthful cast and rounded out the performance with an accomplished final dance.

Other standouts included Chelsea Keffer as the wind-up doll and Mia Tureson as Clara. Tureson embodied the part of young Clara with youthful exuberance and impressive skill.

“You don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy the production and admire the extreme athletic ability and strength of the performers,” said Sklute.

The company as a whole succeeded in delivering a thrilling performance. With costumes by David Heuvel and set design from Ariel Ballif, “The Nutcracker” was visually dazzling.

With a running time of two hours, the skilled cast and live orchestra of “The Nutcracker” will entertain and impress audiences of all ages. “This is the perfect introduction to ballet for anyone, and a wonderfully traditional way to celebrate the season,” Sklute said.

Ballet West is performing “The Nutcracker” Dec. 2-26 at the Capitol Theater. Tickets range from $19 to $107. View the official website for ticket information.


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