‘The Nutcracker’ ballet returns to the Vilar Center December 16-18
- Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.
“The Nutcracker” ballet returns to the Vilar Center in December, featuring dancers from the Vail Youth Ballet Company and Vail Valley Academy of Dance.
The holiday tradition of the “Nutcracker” comes to life with captivating performances, extravagant costumes and mesmerizing backdrops. The classic story follows Clara on a magical journey with the Nutcracker prince from the Christmas Eve party, a battle between soldiers and Mouse King’s army to the Land of the Snowflakes and the Land of Sweets. Here, Clara and the Prince are welcomed by the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy, with rewards of beautiful gifts and celebrations of dances from around the world. Clara awakens from her dream at home with exciting and beautiful memories of her journey with her Nutcracker Prince.
This high-level local production features incredible artistry, breathtaking dancing, beautiful costumes and colorful sets that are on par with performances seen from large-scale “big city” studios. Tickets are priced at $38 for balcony seats and $45 for lower-level seats.
The dedicated dancers have been rehearsing since mid-September, spending long hours during the week and weekends perfecting their dances. It’s no secret that dancers spend practically all their free time rehearsing. “Nutcracker” rehearsals are in addition to all of their other classes, which are required to maintain status in the Vail Youth Ballet Company. Prospective dancers audition in September, the cast list is announced and rehearsals start soon after.
Most dancers are cast in multiple roles, performing in Act 1 and Act 2. This year, four seniors are featured including:
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- Jillian Lee as Clara
- Lily Marion as Sugar Plum Fairy
- Riley Coe as Snow Queen (cast A), Chinese Lead, Dew Drop (cast B), Snow Corps and Rose
- Reese Dean, Snow Queen (cast B), Arabian Princess, Dew Drop (cast A), Snow Corps and Rose
Artistic director Ashley Calligan continues the spirit of the show and its traditions, while instituting some new roles, dances and stage designs to showcase the entire cast, best feature everyone’s talents and add new creativity to the traditional story. Calligan trained at The Academy of Colorado Ballet, The Academy of Russian Ballet, and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. While dancing she performed numerous roles including; Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Soloist in Paquita, Spanish in The Nutcracker, and many original works by Elizabeth Shipiatsky, Robert Royce, Angela Whitehill, and Thom Clower. She is currently in her 16th year as the assistant to the artistic director and ballet mistress with Burklyn Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Joanne Whitehill.
In addition to several community members filling the roles of Party Parents and Mother Ginger, Calligan has again enlisted professional dancers to dance alongside the lead roles in the ballet:
- Michael Stone will return as the Cavalier dancing with Sugar Plum Fairy, Lily Marion. Stone recently graduated with his Bachelor’s on scholarship at Southern Methodist University. He’s performed classical works like “Giselle” and “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” as well as modern works such as Shapiro and Smith’s “To Have and To Hold” and Paul Taylor’s “Mercuric Tidings.” Stone was fortunate to travel to New York City to perform in the 70th Anniversary Jose Limón International Dance Festival as a soloist in the classic work, “There is a Time.” He is a former member of Ballet Dallas, and a former Artist in Residence with North Central Ballet Theater, Festival Ballet Theater, and Collin County Ballet Theatre.
- Nathan Krewe-Klug dances as the Nutcracker Prince alongside Jillian Lee as Clara. Krewe-Klug hails from La Grange, IL. Growing up near Chicago, he most notably trained under Claire Bataille in the Lou Conte Scholarship Program, and received additional training from programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, DanceWorks Chicago, and River North Dance Chicago. In 2019 Krewe-Klug had the privilege of studying classical ballet abroad at Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. Krewe-Klug graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Purchase College with a BFA in Dance Performance & Composition in 2021. Krewe-Klug has danced previously with Chicago Repertory Ballet and Winifred Haun & Dancers and has performed numerous signature dances. Krewe-Klug is in his second season dancing with Mareck Dance (formerly Missouri Contemporary Ballet).
- Colin Meiring will return in his role as Drosselmeyer in the Party Scene. Meiring started his performing arts career at the age of six, competing in ballroom dancing and won every national title in South Africa. He diversified into musical theatre, television and film performing around the globe. Meiring gained International experience performing, choreographing and directing shows for Royal Caribbean and Silversea Cruises. Meiring is also a beloved instructor at the Vail Valley Academy of Dance and Artistic Director at the Vail Performing Arts Academy.
While attending the show
During each performance, be sure to stop by the Bake Sale for delicious treats for all. The Vilar Center bar will only be open for beverages prior to and during intermission of the evening shows. And, visit the boutique for beautiful and unique holiday and Nutcracker gifts. An online auction with incredible offerings will also take place beginning Dec. 10 and run through the last show on December 18. Look for a QR code at the performances to bid and win your favorite items. And, the Vail Youth Ballet Company dancers’ personally decorated Nutcracker-themed pointe-shoes will be on display and available to purchase. Be sure to bring cash for the bake sale, boutique and pointe-shoe purchases.
Parking in Lower Beaver Creek Elk and Bear Lots is free after 1 p.m. Parking in the lower lots is encouraged, especially for the matinee shows, and be sure to allow extra time to catch the free bus to Beaver Creek Village. Parking in Beaver Creek Village at the Villa Montane and Village Hall parking structures is free for 3 hours with ticket stub. Be aware that these lots fill up quickly, particularly during the daytime matinee performances.