Dear Colorado Ballet: We missed you! Thank you for producing The Nutcracker Gala this year. It was a pre-holiday reunion with a kick (so to speak). We loved catching up with old friends and making new ones in person, and seeing brand-new Nutcracker sets and costumes specially created for our traditional holiday favorite. We really enjoyed being able to get back to a sense of normalcy sitting in Ellie Caulkins Opera House watching vibrant dancers and their inspired performances—you could see their smiles and emotion all the way to the back row.
On Friday, Nov. 21, nearly 500 patrons began their holidays early with this year’s gala while helping the Colorado Ballet bounce back (or pirouette) from a rough pandemic year. At the lively “Cocktails and Conversations” reception both in-person guests and virtual ticketholders had the opportunity to bid on the online silent auction, and those onsite participated in Colorado Ballet Auxiliary’s Pliés and Pinots wine pull and the John Atencio Jewelry Surprise Boxes table. Everyone then adjourned to the theater for a program that featured remarks from gala co-chairs Jane and Skip Netzorg, and Artistic Director Gil Boggs. Ballet master Sandra Brown told the audience about the pandemic shutdown and the extraordinary efforts to provide dancers with a best-possible scenario to allow them to rehearse and stay in shape—beginning with setting up individual studio flooring at their residences for Zoom rehearsals until in-person studio practices could happen.
Brand-new Nutcracker sets and costumes specially created for the Colorado Ballet were revealed, and guests had the opportunity to enjoy two beautiful performances: traditional Sugar Plum pas de deux, followed by original The Caged Bird Sings, choreographed by Sandra Brown. Fundraising activities began with an appeal and thank-you video featuring dancers, followed by a live auction and paddle raise led by Debbie Scheer. Guests moved on to a sumptuous Kevin Taylor Nutcracker-themed dinner (virtual guests via home delivery), followed by chocolates and coffee in the Ellie foyer for those onsite.
Presenting exceptional classical ballet and innovative contemporary dance through performances, training, education and community engagement, Colorado Ballet is a non-profit organization celebrating 61 years of excellence. As a world-class professional company serving over 100,000 national and international patrons, Colorado Ballet presents 55 performances annually to sold-out audiences in the 2,000 seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Company’s 32 professional dancers and 20 studio company dancers come from all over the world. Colorado Ballet’s The Armstrong Center for Dance, a 35,000 square foot building, boasts eight state-of-the-art professional dance studios and amenities for the professional Company. Under the direction of Artistic Director Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet performs classical ballet masterpieces, full-length story ballets and its critically acclaimed repertory production Ballet MasterWorks, featuring varied works from neoclassical ballets to world premieres.
Each year the Raydean Acevedo Colorado Ballet Academy serves more than 1,200 students from toddlers to seniors. Colorado Ballet’s Education & Community Engagement offers programs to students and community members, making over 25,000 contacts and reaching more than 200 schools and organizations annually. Participants come from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses including youth, families, teachers and people with and without disabilities. For more information, please visit coloradoballet.org.