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Colorado Youth Ballet Set to Light Up Ent Center for the Arts Stage With Nutcracker Guest Stars

Award-winning dancers of the Colorado Ballet Society and the Colorado Youth Ballet will perform seven shows of The Nutcracker, at 7:00pm on Friday, December, 20; and 2:00pm & 6:00pm on December 21-23 at the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N Nevada Ave in Colorado Springs. 150 cast members, including guest artists from Boulder Ballet, Ballet San Antonio, and Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet, and narrators from the FOX21 News Team will bring this classic tale to life with Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

“We are thrilled to have such dedicated and talented professionals joining our production this year,” says Ballet Society and Youth Ballet founder and director, Patricia Hoffman.

“Recent Ballet Society graduate and Boulder Ballet Apprentice, Emma Michaux, will return to perform Snow Queen for three performances and Arabian Coffee Corps for four performances; international guest artist and Ballet San Antonio dancer, Ryland Acree, will portray Snow King and Russian Lead; internationally recognized dance star and Artistic Director of Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet, Robert Sher-Machherndl, will appear as our Drosselmeyer; and five professionals from the FOX21 News Team will lend their voices throughout our run, narrating this classic Nutcracker story live: News Director Joe Cole, Anchor Scott Kilbury, Living Local Host and Executive Producer Claudia Garofalo, Meteorologist Emily Roehler, and Sports Director Ashley Giovanna,” says Hoffman.

“I’m excited to perform for the people that have watched me since I was young and to dance with the incredibly talented students at Colorado Ballet Society,” shares Emma Michaux. “It’s surreal knowing that I’m really getting to dance for a living and coming home is a fun way to celebrate that!”

Michaux is a Colorado native who has been dancing since the age of four. She trained with Colorado Ballet Society in Colorado Springs since the age of eleven and joined Boulder Ballet as an Apprentice in 2019.

“The best part of working with the Colorado Youth Ballet is the expertise in the coaching as well as being able to work with the instructors who helped form my dancing,” explains Michaux. “Going from a student to a guest artist is certainly an interesting transition. I’d like to hope I’ll never truly stop being a student in my dancing because there is so much in this art form to learn.”

“The winter scene is my favorite scene in the nutcracker,” explains Michaux. “The Snow Pas de deux is set to such powerful and beautiful music; it is a fun challenge to have your body follow suit. I love the elegance and power behind the role of Snow Queen and it is always a pleasure to perform.”

“I love how different Snow King and Russian Lead are,” shares Ryland Acree. “In the Snow Pas, I am focused on showcasing the beauty and grace of my partners. In Russian, I get to bring technical proficiency and athleticism to the stage.”

Acree began his dance training at age nine. He is a World Ballet Competition recipient as well as Youth America Grand Prix regional medal winner. He joined Ballet San Antonio in 2017.

“I really enjoy getting to work with such a talented cast of students and guest artists,” says Acree. “Their energy is contagious and helps push me to bring the most out of my performance. The students’ hard work and focus is truly great to be around. Their desire to rehearse a part over and over until it is perfect will translate to a really great performance come opening night.”

Dance companies around the world perform hundreds of productions of The Nutcracker each year, enthralling audiences of all ages and exposing children to the performing arts culture with a family-friendly and visually stimulating ballet. While most of the large Nutcracker productions in town are performed by professional touring companies, with only a handful of local dancers, the Colorado Ballet Society’s December Nutcracker has featured talented local performers for 13 years.

“It gives young dancers an opportunity to dance principal roles that they may not get to do elsewhere,” adds Michaux.

“Something that I love watching is the students here at Ballet Society working so hard on executing all of these classical variations and group pieces throughout the Nutcracker,” shares Ashley Hanson, instructor and choreographer. “I appreciate these kids’ tenacity and approach to rehearsals and performances. They are students but they are very professional.”

The Nutcracker, one of the world’s most beloved holiday events, offers an opportunity to share the joy of the holidays with those you love. Whether you’re seeing it again or for the first time, this classical ballet will capture your imagination and transport you to a magical world of toy soldiers and dancing snowflakes.

Tickets are available at the Ent Center for the Arts, at the door on the day of the show, and online HERE

Calendar Who: Colorado Youth Ballet and dancers of Colorado Ballet Society

What: Nutcracker - 150 performers in this 75-minute production narrated by the Fox21 News Team. This family-friendly version features all your character favorites: The Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, and the Nutcracker Prince, the Rat King and his ferocious Mice fighting the Toy Soldiers, and all the delights of the Winter Wonderland and the Land of the Sweets! Don't miss this holiday classic.

When: Friday, Dec. 20 at 7pm; Saturday-Monday, Dec. 21-23 at 2pm & 6pm

Where: Ent Center for the Arts 5225 N. Nevada Ave in Colorado Springs

Tickets: $18, $28, and $35 are available by check, cash, or credit card through the Ent Center box office (719-255-3232) and online HERE

Figure 1: Emma Michaux and Daniel Prewitt as Snow Queen and King, 2018 | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography Figure 2: Ryland Acree, Gabriella Vidano, and Emma Michaux rehearsing Snow Pas de deux | PC: Kayla Coburn

Figure 3: Ryland Acree, Gabriella Vidano, and Emma Michaux rehearsing Snow Pas de deux PC: Kayla Coburn

Figure 4: Ryland Acree and Emma Michaux rehearsing Snow Pas de deux | PC: Kayla Coburn

Figure 5: Chinese Leads and Dragon| PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography

Figure 6: Shepherdess and Lambs| PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography

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