Steamboat dance studio revives ‘The Nutcracker,’ with a twist | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat dance studio revives ‘The Nutcracker,’ with a twist

Nicole Inglis





Olivia Satkiewicz, center, is joined by other dancers while rehearsing for "The Nutcracker" on Saturday at Elevation Dance Studio. Performances are Dec. 15 and 16 at Steamboat Springs High School, and tickets cost $10 to $13.
Matt Stensland

Dancers rehearse for "The Nutcracker" on Saturday at Elevation Dance Studio.Matt StenslandMaggie McElhiney rehearses for "The Nutcracker" on Saturday at Elevation Dance Studio.Matt Stensland

— The last time "The Nutcracker" was performed in Steamboat Springs, Caroline Wilson was 4 years old and one of the youngest pink-slippered, tutu-clad dancers in the traditional holiday ballet. Now, she's one of the older performers and the “Dew Drop Fairy” in a stunning piece in the revived holiday tradition produced by Elevation Dance Studio.

It’s been nine years since the ballet was performed here. Many of the performers then now are teachers and choreographers. And a number of this year's performers weren't even born.

"To make this happen this year is a dream come true," said Carole Krohn, a soloist in the last production and now a teacher at Elevation Dance Studio. "It's a tradition brought back to life. For anyone involved in dance, 'The Nutcracker' is part of your life."

Elevation Dance Studio is bringing the holiday tradition back to Steamboat Dec. 15 and 16, with performances at the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 to $13 depending on seating, and the performances are at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 and at 1 p.m. Dec. 16. Tickets can be purchased at Elevation Dance Studio’s website.

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The cast comprises nearly 90 community members, ranging in age from 4 to 50.

Don Miles, who plays Drosselmeyer in this edition, is performing in his eighth "Nutcracker" in Steamboat. He echoed Krohn's sentiments about this being a "dream come true."

"It's just fun," he said. "It's the mystery of it, the kids, the excitement of being here and creating something."

Locally, “The Nutcracker” was long directed by former resident Julie Sneden, and this year's performance pays homage to her eight-year run by using some of her original choreography. But director and Elevation Dance Studio teacher Solange Guenier diverted from the traditional in many senses.

"We have hip-hop and contemporary," she said.

But the magic still is there, and it was apparent in the faces of children and adult dancers at the cast's first run-through Saturday.

"I think (the audience) is going to enjoy the Christmas magic of it. I think they're going to enjoy the kids all being a part of it, and the music is so beautiful," Guenier said.

To Tchaikovsky's famous score, Olivia Satkiewicz (Clara) dances through a dreamland filled with fairies, dancing flowers and a lifelike nutcracker played by Marty St. Pierre.

Sugarplum fairy Maggie McEliney dances a contemporary pointe piece; hip-hop dancers break down the march; and there's a breakdance segment and rhythmic gymnastics-inspired hoops and ribbons.

"I just love to be able to put the kids onstage. I love every one of them to be a part of a story; it's not just a recital, they're telling a story," Guenier said.

Elevation Dance Studio owner Renee Fleischer said that when she opened the studio two years ago, she always hoped to put on "The Nutcracker.”

"In a place where the holidays are so apparent — and hopefully we have a white Christmas this year — there's really nothing like it. I think people of all cultural backgrounds can appreciate 'The Nutcracker.'"

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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