Pikes Peak Arts Council Presents Exceptional Nutcracker Award to Colorado Ballet Society’s ‘A Colora

Colorado Ballet Society was honored with the Exceptional Performance of the Nutcracker award at the Pikes Peak Arts Council’s 2018 50th Anniversary Gala awards event held at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College on Tuesday, October 17, 2018.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have A Colorado Nutcracker recognized by the Pikes Peak Arts Council in this way,” enthuses Colorado Ballet Society founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “There is a vibrant arts community here in the Front Range region, and we are blessed to be part of it.”

A Colorado Nutcracker embodies the traditional Nutcracker storyline but highlights actual historical figures and events from early Colorado Springs circa 1907. The opening scene depicts The Antlers Hotel from that time period. World renowned electrical scientist, Nicola Tesla, and other prominent members of Colorado Springs are preparing to attend the Christmas Eve celebration hosted by city founder, General William J. Palmer and his three daughters at Glen Eyrie Castle. Salvation Army workers are bringing local orphans to join in the festivities.

The Party Scene takes place in the Great Hall of Glen Eyrie Castle where Palmer welcomes his guests from his wheelchair-as he has been paralyzed as a result of a horseback riding accident in Garden of the Gods just a little over a year previously.

Spencer and Julie Penrose (founders of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center), Henry and Elizabeth McAllister (early Colorado Springs City Planner), and Charles and Josephine Tutt (goldmine magnet and Penrose business partner) are some of the other guests at the party that evening.

Tesla wows the crowd by lighting the Christmas tree and sharing some of his electrical experiments, and one special orphan child, Clara, is given a magical Nutcracker doll.

The iconic Winter Scene takes place in the majestic Garden of the Gods. These backdrops were designed and rendered in the fall of 2017 with the assistance of American Photo Treks LLC, Glen Eyrie, and Katherine Marie Photography.

These production elements along with exceptional choreography and dancers, guest artists in the roles of General Palmer, Nicola Tesla, Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, were enough to earn the Pikes Peak Arts Council’s Exceptional Nutcracker Award for their 2017 debut. Hoffman promises an even more spectacular event in 2018.

“This year we are adding a new Land of Sweets backdrop and staging elements and a special surprise in the Mother Ginger scene,” shares Hoffman. “We’ll be showcasing more of what make the Front Range region so uniquely delightful.”

This marks the third award Colorado Ballet Society has received from the Pikes Peak Arts Council. In 2007, CBS received a PPAC Award for Excellence in the Arts for their collaborative work in The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore, a production of the Colorado Youth Ballet (Ballet Society’s premier performing company), the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, which is planned for a reprisal in February 2019, at the Ent Center for the Arts. In 2017 PPAC presented the Youth Dance Production award to CBS for The Music Man. CBS’s fledgling theatre company Elevate Productions, has since presented Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Anne of Green Gables-The Musical™ to Colorado Springs audiences.

Colorado Springs Business Journal Woman of Influence award recipient, Katherine Gaulke, accepted the prize on behalf of Colorado Ballet Society. Gaulke is also the creator and overseer of the backdrop artwork for A Colorado Nutcracker.

“When I asked Patty what she would like for me to share if we won, her request was to thank her talented choreographers and dancers,” shares Gaulke. “Patty truly is a selfless visionary artist ensuring our city’s youth have a strong place within the performing arts community. She has given hundreds of young girls and boys, men and women, the gift of being involved in the performing arts! They in turn have blessed our community endlessly. Everything Colorado Ballet Society does is so well done - from training to performances to taking care of the heart, mind and body of each dancer. A Colorado Nutcracker is one small example of Patty’s beautiful far-reaching impact on the Pikes Peak region.”

See Colorado Ballet Society’s 2018 A Colorado Nutcracker!

Who: Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet

What: A Colorado Nutcracker featuring 160 performers including professional guest artists

When: Four performances, Saturday, Dec 22 at 2pm & 7pm; and Sunday, Dec 23 at 1pm & 5pm

Where: Pikes Peak Center, 190 South Cascade in downtown Colorado Springs

Tickets: $18 - $46 Adults, available at the Pikes Peak Center and World Arena Box Offices and online

Figure 1: Katherine Gaulke accepted the Exceptional Nutcracker Award from the Pikes Peak Arts Council at the 50th Anniversary Gala event held at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College on Tuesday evening October 16, 2018

Figures 2-5: Photos by Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography