The Nutcracker at The Palm December 12 & 13

The Nutcracker at The Palm December 12 & 13

The Telluride Dance Academy presents the unkillable ballet, the one that features a young girl on the verge, her handsome prince, a cornucopia of dancing delicacies, mad mice, determined toy soldiers, and a tree on growth hormones. The second annual production of "The Nutcracker" takes place this coming weekend, Saturday, December 12, 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 13, 3 p.m. at the Michael D. Palm Theatre.

The pure magic of "The Nutcracker" is etched into the evening almost as soon as the curtain goes up, when the magician, Herr Drosselmeier, godfather to Clara, makes a grand entrance at a Christmas party and gives little heroine Clara a Nutcracker doll.

Marius Petipa's "Nutcracker" first opened in 1892  at St. Petersburg Maryinsky Theatre to yawns from the critics and crowd raised on a diet of bodice rippers. The variations on the theme that followed the original are as wide-ranging and different as snowflakes, ranging from staidly classical to a kaleidoscopic hallucination. But it was George Balanchine's 1954 adaptation that established "The Nutcracker" as the world's most popular ballet, a Christmas staple, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" en pointe.

It was “The Nutcracker” that brought ballet from the exclusive domain of a rich aristocracy to high school auditoriums such as The Palm. Prima ballerina/instructor Valerie Madonia choreographs the Telluride Dance Academy's version.

Valerie danced in “The Nutcracker” when she was a girl with the National Ballet of Canada. Years later, she guest-starred as the Sugar Plum Fairy in regional theatres around the country, and describes the role as one tough nut to crack. In the local version, Katy Bowlby is the Sugar Plum Fairy. Alex Kramer is her prince, Ashley Boling is Drosselmeier, Shirley Fortenberry is the Snow Queen, and Ebba Green and Emma Spaulding (one on each night) play Clara.

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