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Arts & entertainment

Littleton Youth Ballet among companies staging `Nutcracker’

Tchaikovsky classic runs at number of area venues during holiday season

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Soon, Tchaikovsky’s beloved music will be playing wherever one goes, and dancers—both professional and younger — will become snowflakes, Clara, party guests, military mice, princes and that Sugar Plum Fairy. Dancers in the Littleton Youth Ballet will present their annual production of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 1-3 in the beautifully renovated Joanna Ramsey Theatre at Westminster High School. (Ramsey was Littleton Youth Ballet director Allison Jaramillo’s teacher in high school, we are told.)

The company had long performed at the Loretto Heights Theatre, and with the sale of that property, it was not available this year. By the time Jaramillo and her co-director/mother, Bobbie Jaramillo learned about Loretto Heights’ unavailability, finding another stage that offered adequate fly space for set pieces was difficult — some book three years ahead.

A friend had a suggestion and Allison is most pleased with the comfort and sound qualities in the Ramsey Theatre, she writes — and invites Littleton audiences to experience it, hoping they will “fall in love with it,” as the Jaramillos did.

The production features two casts of over 170: children, pre-professional dancers in the Littleton Youth Ballet and guest artists, as well as lovely sets and costumes that suggest Littleton in the early 1900s.

Academy dancers progress to more complex parts each year as their skills increase: first wee mice and angels, then clowns and candy canes, then snowflakes and flowers and finally leading roles … Some dancers in this year’s program have performed since Littleton Ballet started presenting “The Nutcracker.” Each year features some subtle changes in choreography, Allison says. (We recall enjoying her own performance as young Clara, back when the David Taylor Dance Company was located on Main Street, up a couple blocks from the Littleton Independent’s onetime office space.)

Colorado Ballet soloist Francisco Estevez and a female guest artist, to be announced, will perform as Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier on Dec. 1 and 2.

BREAKOUT BOX

If you go

The Littleton Youth Ballet production of “The Nutcracker” will be presented Dec. 1-3 at the Joanna Ramsey Theatre in Westminster High School, 6933 Raleigh St., Westminster. Ticket prices for reserved seating range from $20 to $36 in advance, $2 more at the door. 303-794-6694, littletonyouthballet.org.

And there are more dancing flowers and snowflakes to be found in the Denver metro area through the season:

● Colorado Ballet is staging several performances of its 57th annual production of “The Nutcracker” through Dec. 24 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 14th and Champa streets in downtown Denver. Costumes and sets are lavish and there is a live orchestra. Performances are daytime and evening — see coloradoballet.org or call 303-837-8888, ext. 2.

● “Nutcracker of Parker” is presented Dec. 14 (7 p.m.); Dec. 15 (7 p.m.); Dec. 16 and 17 (2 and 7 p.m.) by Parker Arts and the Colorado School of Dance at the PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker. Tickets: 303-805-6800, parkerarts.org.

● Ballet Ariel presents “The Nutcracker” at 2 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 22 at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, Lakewood. Tickets: 303-987-7845, at the box office, or Lakewood.org/Tickets. Dancers include students, the professional company and special guest Paul Noel Fiorino as Herr Drosselmeyer.

● Denver Ballet Theatre (David Taylor) presents “The Nutcracker” at the Newman Center, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., Denver on Dec. 22, 23 at 2 and 7 p.m. Newmantix.com/tickets, 303-871-6200.

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