Award-winning dancers of Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet, musicians from the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, vocalists from Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, guest artists, and narrators from the FOX21 News Team will bring Colorado Springs’ history and beauty to life in three 75-minute performances of A Colorado Nutcracker at 7:00pm on Tuesday, December 21; and 2:00pm & 6:00pm on Wednesday, December 22 at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, 190 S Cascade Ave. in Colorado Springs.
“A Colorado Nutcracker embodies the complete traditional Nutcracker storyline set in 1907 Colorado Springs,” explains Dex Honea, Executive Director and School Principal of Colorado Ballet Society.
“This Colorado-themed production is very dear to our hearts,” shares Kate Walsh Honea, Artistic Director of Colorado Ballet Society and former Principal Dancer and Assistant Ballet Mistress with the Sarasota Ballet, who has performed in Nutcrackers for thirty years. “Dex and I joined the cast as guest artists in 2017 and 2018, dancing in the roles of Nikola Tesla and the Sugar Plum Fairy, and we’re thrilled to present this production to the community, as the new Directors of Colorado Ballet Society. It’s also special to see the growth of the young dancers that we’ve known for four years, and watch them take on characters like Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
In August 2021, Matt and Lisa Walsh of Colorado Springs purchased both the Briargate and Falcon locations from Founder and Director Emeritus Patricia Hoffman and established Dex Honea as Executive Director and School Principal and Kate Walsh Honea as Artistic Director and Manager of the Ballerina Boutique.
A Colorado Nutcracker-- concept and original staging by Hoffman--highlights the historical characters of our community, celebrating the inspiring founding families of the Front Range. The specially designed backdrops beautifully depict local scenery—historic Antlers Hotel, Glen Eyrie, Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak--while reflecting the unique history of Colorado Springs.
"Collaborating on Colorado Ballet Society’s A Colorado Nutcracker is a privilege for all of us at the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs,” says Thomas Wilson, Music Director of the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs. “They have created something unique and charming, a special twist on a beloved classic, and we get to bring it to life through Tchaikovsky’s magical score. This is truly a Nutcracker for our community.”
“It’s also the perfect way to commemorate the 150 Anniversary of the founding of our beloved city,” declares Honea.
The audience will step back in time and experience a 1907 Christmas Eve celebration at the Glen Eyrie home of General William J. Palmer, amongst the city's illustrious founding families, including 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).
Young Clara, an orphan visitor, is blessed to receive an enchanted Nutcracker doll from Nikola Tesla, inventor extraordinaire and special guest at the party. Clara and her Nutcracker Prince journey through a wintery Garden of the Gods wonderland to the delightful Land of Sweets where we meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mother Nature, and other fanciful characters.
“We’re pleased that this beloved ballet not only features the unique heritage of the Front Range region but also showcases local talent,” explains Walsh Honea.
“A Colorado Nutcracker is one of the biggest productions we have each year, and one of my favorites,” shares Simone Gibson, a student at Lewis-Palmer Middle School who will be performing the role of Clara. “It includes many dancers of different levels at Colorado Ballet Society, from ages 6-19.”
“We also have wonderful guests joining the cast,” adds Honea. “Ballet Society graduate and former artist with Canada's Ballet Jörgen, Colton West, will return to perform Nikola Tesla; national guest artist and Boulder Ballet dancer, Matthew Helms, will portray Snow King and Russian Lead; former dancer of Sarasota Ballet, Joel Selva Benito, will appear as Rat King and Spanish Chocolate; and three professionals from the FOX21 News Team will lend their voices throughout our run, narrating the Nutcracker story live: Living Local Host Keni Mac, Anchor Taylor Bishop, and News Director Joe Cole.”
I'm incredibly honored to represent my roles and contribute to the production,” says Levi Ladd, Cheyenne Mountain School District resident who will portray Tesla’s Assistant and the Nutcracker Prince. “I really enjoy learning from the fantastic instructors and talented dancers of CBS. I am thankful to be part of a group with such high professional standards that also foster an incredibly positive environment.”
“The kids are extremely disciplined and so talented. All the students and dancers are so friendly and they have made me feel welcomed since the very first rehearsal. I am happy to be a part of this production and to support Kate and Dex,” claims Joel Selva Benito, former dancer with the Sarasota Ballet. “Nutcracker is something that we don't perform in my home country of Spain, so this is special to collaborate and perform this holiday tradition.”
“This is my sixth time being in CBS's Nutcracker, and it never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit!” exclaims Zella Forand, an eighth grader at Journey K8 and recent Esther Geoffrey scholarship recipient who shares the role of Clara.
“I believe that by bringing the characters in the Nutcracker to life, we are helping the audience experience life through the optimistic eyes of Clara and reclaim the youthful wonder, innocence, and imagination that are an integral part of the holiday spirit,” explains Elizabeth Rose, sophomore at Air Academy High School recent Esther Geoffrey scholarship recipient who will appear as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Since 2011, Colorado Ballet Society has performed their December Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center. Hoffman created the concept of A Colorado Nutcracker and produced and directed the production in 2017 and 2018, earning the Pikes Peak Arts Council’s Exceptional Nutcracker Award for its 2017 debut.
“After not being able to have the Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center for two years we invite the community to join us again for this time-honored tradition,” offers Elizabeth Worf, Colorado Ballet Society graduate who will perform Sugar Plum Fairy. “We have been working so hard over the past few months to put this performance together. CBS is committed to bringing excellence to the stage not only in its dancers but down to the finest detail on and off the stage. The instructors, staff, and dancers are so excited for the audience to come and see the final product.”
“I’m elated to see this award-winning production return to the Pikes Peak Center stage,” says Hoffman. “Being able to perform the Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center this year demonstrations our studio's resilience.”
“Last year during county restrictions, students at CBS were blessed to be able to perform the Nutcracker at Colorado Springs Christian School and continue the Nutcracker tradition,” shares Rose. “I could not be more thankful to our Director Emeritus, Patty Hoffman, and the rest of the staff at CBS for having made that possible during such a difficult time. Nonetheless, I am ecstatic to be able to return to a bigger performance venue this year and use the Nutcracker to reach a larger audience.”
“The post-pandemic return of this audience-favorite spectacle to the Pikes Peak Center promises to be a true celebration of our community and artistic spirit,” declares Nasit Ari, President Emeritus and Grants Coordinator of the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs. “Come prepared to be awed and moved.”
Tickets, $22-$49, are available at the Pikes Peak Center Box Office,
at the door on the day of the show, and online.
Figure 1: Josie Hawkins and Matthew Helms as Snow Queen and King | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 2: Spanish | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 3: Arabian Coffee | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 4: Butterfly in Waltz of the Flowers | Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 5: Dan Brown as Lead Chinese | PC: Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography