Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s 'The Nutcracker' brings students and professionals together onstage

Dec 8, 2017

Credit Sharen Bradford

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” is taking place this weekend. It’s an annual opportunity for students to share the stage with professional dancers. It also serves as a holiday reunion for recurring members of the company’s cast.


Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has its own take on the popular holiday show.

“It’s such a big production … there's a carousel … we have ribbon dancers and actual flamenco dancers, said Anna Gerberich, who dances the role of Sugar Plum Fairy. “I've never seen another production do it like that.”


This is Gerberich’s second year dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy with ASFB. She’s been a professional dancer for 14 years and said she’s wanted this role since she was a little girl.


“I love seeing the little kids faces light up every year because you’re in this beautiful tutu and crown and it’s a very magical part,” said Gerberich.


There are 150 students sharing the stage with company professionals this year. ASFB’s Artistic Director Tom Mossbrucker said the production is choreographed to be challenging, but to also excite dancers of all levels.


“It’s an incredible opportunity for these young dancers to work alongside professionals from all around the country,” said Mossbrucker.



Nutcracker's battle.
Credit Sharen Bradford

Like the students, the company gave Anthony Tiedeman, who portrays the Nutcracker, his first opportunity to perform in the production through ASFB. He said dancers tend to grow up participating in the show during the holiday season.

“I never really did that," he said. "So, it's just as magical for me as it is the students that are doing it for the first time.”


ASFB’s production is ambitious in its scale and technicality. Intricate set designs are a prime set up for dancers in ornate costumes to bump into almost anything. Four weeks of training prepare dancers for the obstacle course onstage.


“The house will move, and if you're too far back you'll get hit with the house and you have a mask on, you can't really see anything,” said Tiedeman.


Gerberich and Tiedeman both said their goals this season are to perfect their reprieved roles.


“We’re all just sort of, this year, seeing it almost like this animated movie,” Tiedeman said. “Like the more animated we are the more it gets across the idea of this magical world we’re going to create for the audience to watch.”


Mossbrucker loves that ASFB's “The Nutcracker” has become this annual tradition for Aspen audiences. Performances will run Saturday and Sunday in the afternoons and evenings.