Whether you’re a fan of toe shoes or can’t tell a tutu from a toucan, The Nutcracker is sure to win you over (and is the perfect introduction to ballet for children). The holiday classic receives stagings across the Front Range, from small dance school recitals to full-blown, big-budget productions with live orchestra and all the trimmings.
But no matter the dance troupe, Nutcracker dazzles audiences with glittering snowflakes, shimmering sugarplums, the thrilling battle between the Mouse King and the oh-so-handsome Prince and more, all to Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary score. Spend a little or spend a little bit more, the choice is yours. (We’ve noted any discounts.) Here are some productions to check out:
November 15 to 17. Traditional three-act production. The holiday classic transports the audience to a land of magic where dreams come true. Tickets: $15 to $30. Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 Allison Pkwy., Lakewood.
November 29 to December 1. One of Colorado’s major productions of the holiday tradition, with a cast of more than 80 dancers including the professional company and charming young student dancers, a full live orchestra, spectacular scenery and special effects. Macky Auditorium. CU Boulder. Tickets $15 to $87. Buy here.
Also December 7 & 8 with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra at Vance Brand Civic Center, 600 E. Mountain View Ave., Longmont. Tickets: $12 to $40. Buy here.
November 30 to December 29. Largest production in the state, with Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. The real deal, with a full professional production with company dancers and local children. Tickets: $40 to $160. Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
November 29 to December 1. “The Children’s Nutcracker” is performed by children ages 3 to 17 and is geared towards an audience of all ages. Enjoy a less formal but magical rendition of this holiday classic. Tickets: $25. Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 Allison Pkwy., Lakewood.
December 13 & 14. Great Russian Nutcracker is a fully produced (60-foot growing Christmas Tree, 7 backdrops featuring Russian heritage, 10-foot tall puppets, 40 dancers and 100 costumes) national tour of the Christmas favorite. Tickets: $29 to $99. Buy here. Discounts for AAA members and seniors when you present your ID and/or membership card and purchase at the box office. Paramount Theater, 1621 Glenarm Pl., Denver.
December 14 & 15, 21 & 22. Sixty CCD students join guest artists John Lam & Ji Young Chae of Boston Ballet for performances on December 14 & 15 and Beckanne Sisk and Chase O’Connell (both of Ballet West) on December 21 & 22. Tickets: $20 to $47. Buy here. Performing Arts Complex at PCS, 1001 W. 84th Ave, Denver.
December 14 & 15, 20, 21, 22 & 23. Full-length production with beautiful costumes and exciting choreography danced by Ballet Ariel’s professional company and school students. Tickets: $30 to $38. Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 Allison Pkwy., Lakewood.
December 12 to 21. Colorado School of Dance’s performances include local casting combined with professional dancers and professional backdrops and sets. Tickets: $26 to 32. PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker.
December 20 to 22. Features a cast of more than 150 children, pre-professional dancers, and guest artists, this delightful ballet (with full backdrops and beautiful costumes) will transport you to a simpler time and an enchanting place. Colorado Ballet guest artists perform in the evening performances on Friday and Saturday. Tickets: $20 to $36. Buy here. (Prices are $2 more at the door.) Joanna Ramsey Theatre, 6933 Raleigh St, Westminster.
December 20 to 22. Features Longmont pre-professional and academy students as well as guest artists with live orchestra accompaniment. Tickets: $17 to $25. Niwot High School Auditorium, 8989 Niwot Rd.