‘The Nutcracker’ returns to the stage in Steamboat this weekend | SteamboatToday.com

‘The Nutcracker’ returns to the stage in Steamboat this weekend

Dancers, from left, Caroline Wilson, Ellie Kolvereid, Markella Kyprios, Kailee Davis, Elle Michaud-Thomas, Tia Kavanaugh and Keala Fraioli are pictured in Elevation Dance Studio's production of "The Nutcracker." The show will host performances at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

— Dancers of various ages stand behind side curtains peeking out onto the stage, each awaiting their turn in the spotlight.

It's a moment Solange Guenier-Chambers has looked forward to seeing every year for the past three years since Elevation Dance Studio reinstated the local "The Nutcracker" performance, which used to be presented by students from the Oak Street Dance Studio.

"When I look at their faces before they go onstage, I can just see that it's a dream come true for them," said Guenier-Chambers, who is co-directing “The Nutcracker” with Elevation Dance Studio owner Renee Fleischer. “They’ve worked so hard, and you can see that when they perform.”

With Christmas five days away, the performance comes at a perfect time, Guenier-Chambers said. "The Nutcracker" will be performed at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium featuring 77 dancers who range in age from 3 to 50.

"I've always loved the magic about this show," Guenier-Chambers said. "Every time I heard that ‘The Nutcracker’ would be showing when I was a little kid, it was like an announcement that Christmas is right around the corner."

Originally a two-act ballet, “The Nutcracker” first was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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Rather than perform the traditional ballet, six local choreographers created their own version of the classic story to be performed by Elevation Dance Studio students. The pieces range from contemporary to jazz and from hip-hop to waltz with a few pointe ballet numbers as well. This year, a “Snowflakes” piece and a “Grandfather” piece have been added.

"We like to incorporate hip-hop, jazz, contemporary — all of it, not just ballet," Fleischer said. "That's what makes this sort of an untraditional show, but yet we are still holding true to many of the traditions."

As a first-year choreographer for the show, Hannah Ramirez thinks the different dance elements add a unique touch to the performance. “The Nutcracker” has been special to her since age 5 when she danced in it with Oak Street Dance Studio.

"What's great about this is the community aspect," Ramirez said. "Everyone knows someone in it, and that's unique to many places."

Caroline Wilson, who is performing one of the lead roles in the “Grandfather” number, has seen the dancers and the production evolve during the past few years.

"I remember watching the older girls in their pointe shoes when I was little, and it was one of the greatest things for me to see," Wilson said. "It really inspired me to become a dancer and get more involved with it."

The dancers have been rehearsing since September and are ready for opening night on Friday.

"In a place that is so winter-esque, this is a fun way to celebrate the holidays," Fleischer said. "It's all local talent, and they are so incredibly talented. We are lucky to be able to share this with the community."

Tickets for reserved premium seating for all ages is $25, reserved seating for adults is $20 and reserved seating for kids younger than 10 is $15. Tickets are sold online at elevationdancestudio.com/performances.html and can be purchased at the door pending availability.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1