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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Lincoln Center Nutcracker: A holiday classic

The+Lincoln+Center+Nutcracker%3A+A+holiday+classic

Collegian | Chloe Leline

Alexander Wilson, Social Media Coordinator

Sugarplum fairies dancing across the stage bring the holiday spirit to many people during the dark and cold winter. 

Over winter break, Contemporary Dance Academy performed the timeless ballet “The Nutcracker” at The Lincoln Center. 

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This year (2022) was our 11th year of putting on “Clara and the Nutcracker” at The Lincoln Center,” said Brielle Dighero, the executive director and owner of Contemporary Dance Academy. 

The fairytale ballet “The Nutcracker” is the story of a family’s Christmas Eve celebration. As the story follows Clara, the daughter, the audience watches her battle a mouse king and learn about romantic love. 

“'(The) Nutcracker’ has been a holiday classic for almost a century, and with the story being set during a Christmas Eve celebration, these performances are the perfect way to celebrate,” Dighero said. 

“My favorite memories come from being able to watch the production from the audience, so rehearsals are a wonderful time to watch from the front and to really see all of our dancers’ hard work pay off. There is nothing more rewarding as teachers (than) to see the growth in your students from year to year.” –Brielle Dighero, Contemporary Dance Academy executive director and owner  

The ballet originated in Russia as an adaptation of the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann and was first performed in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. It gained American popularity more than 60 years later through the New York City Ballet.

“The Nutcracker” has now become one of the most frequently performed ballets in all of America.

Many young stars have grown fond of the performance as it holds an ample number of roles that are acceptable for all ages. This allows studios to prepare younger dancers for the professional world.

“My favorite memories come from being able to watch the production from the audience, so rehearsals are a wonderful time to watch from the front and to really see all of our dancers’ hard work pay off,” Dighero said. “There is nothing more rewarding as teachers (than) to see the growth in your students from year to year.”

Jordan McCollum, a dancer at CDA, has been a part of “The Nutcracker” performance for many years and has been a part of the studio since 2010. 

“'(The) Nutcracker’ is important because it gives us students experience and unforgettable memories,” McCollum said. “Being backstage and performing with all the other dancers creates strong friendships and a tight-knit family.”

Casting so many children in “The Nutcracker” also helps the sales of the show. Each child tends to bring around four family members, allowing there to be at least around 300 people in the audience.

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The children also bring a sense of joy that many adults long for, attracting many new faces to the audience each year. Additionally, many ballets are not family appropriate, giving “The Nutcracker” another edge.  

“My favorite memory of ‘(The) Nutcracker’ is when I performed Clara, and at the end of the show, I got to go on stage with my dad, who performed Rat King, and we got to do a father and daughter bow together,” McCollum said. 

“The Nutcracker” has continued to be a show for families to come together and experience the holiday spirit firsthand. Even during COVID-19 lockdowns, many studios were still able to bring the magic through virtual performances, proving that “The Nutcracker” will be a timeless show for years to come.

Reach Alexander Wilson at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @alexgrey0604.

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