Palm Arts Dance Presents “The Nutcracker,” 12/22 & 12/23

Palm Arts Dance Presents “The Nutcracker,” 12/22 & 12/23

Telluride’s Palm Arts Dance​ presents the Tchaikovsky holiday classic ​”The Nutcracker.” The ballet takes place Saturday and Sunday​ December 22nd and 23rd at the ​Michael D. Palm Theatre​. Advance tickets are $10 student, $20 adult; day of performance the price goes up to $15 student; $25 adult. Tickets are on sale here.

The Scrooges of the world may complain of a whopper of a toothache from all that sugar, but for the rest of us sentimental saps, “The Nutcracker” remains as much a part of Christmas as evergreens and eggnog. The ballet’s enduring appeal stems from the fact the coming-of-age story speaks to the child in us all. However, the history of the ballet is not all presents under the tree and sugar plum fairies. In fact, “The Nutcracker” first opened under a cloud in 1892 in Russia’s St. Petersburg Maryinsky Theatre.

Start with the fact the ballet’s original choreographer, Marius Petipa, had fallen ill, so the work had to be  finished by his assistant. (For trivia buffs and crossword puzzle junkies, the dude’s name was Leon Ivanov.)

To make matters worse, when composer Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music, he was still mourning the recent death of his sister. That is why the adagio in Act II is similar to a prayer from the Russian Orthodox funeral service.

The real downer, however, was the lukewarm response the ballet received from audiences and critics alike: used to getting their jollies by watching adult performers exchange long glance looks and back-bending kisses, they yawned when confronted by the chaste tale of a young teen’s erotic awakening. Couldn’t Clara have at least kissed a frog?

Sweet revenge came years later thanks to the brilliance of another Russian in tights. With George Balanchine’s 1954 adaptation, “The Nutcracker” became the world’s most popular ballet, a Christmas staple, Handel’s “Messiah” in toe shoes.

It was “The Nutcracker” that brought ballet from the exclusive domain of a rich aristocracy to high school auditoriums such as The Palm, where this weekend Palm Arts Dance​ presents the holiday classic ​on Sunday and Sunday, December 22nd and 23rd at the ​Michael D. Palm Theatre​.

For those who have been living under a rock,”​The Nutcracker​” is the now-timeless tale of a little girl named Clara, who falls asleep after a party at her home and dreams herself into a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. The ballet will be performed by the talented young local ​Palm Arts Dance​ troupe, who range in age from 3 to 18 years old.

​”The Nutcracker​” never fails to razzle-dazzle even the most cynical in the audience with its glittering snowflakes, shimmering sugarplums, and thrilling battles between the Mouse King and the oh-so-handsome Prince.

What’s more, Clara (sometimes Maria) is a great role model: she is indifferent to conventional toys, drawn instead to the odd-looking Nutcracker. She is super sensitive and can’t sleep until the wounded Nutcracker is mended. And Clara is brave, willing to face down a mouse a head or more taller than she is, her only weapon a slipper.

The young girl’s reward is a visit to The Land of the Sweets.

And we say just desserts to that.

“We’re so excited to bring this holiday classic back to Telluride,” says the production’s Artistic Director, Nicole Hattler.“And we’re proud to feature so many talented dancers from grades kindergarten through High School seniors.”

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