After ‘Nutcracker,’ Aspen Santa Fe won’t perform in Aspen until summer |

After ‘Nutcracker,’ Aspen Santa Fe won’t perform in Aspen until summer

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times
Performers with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet perform “The Nutcracker.”
Rosalie O’Connor Photography | Rosalie O’Connor Photography

This weekend’s four performances of “The Nutcracker” are the only Aspen Santa Fe Ballet productions in Aspen this winter.

“We’re not doing anything else in the winter in Aspen this year,” Aspen Santa Fe artistic director Tom Mossbrucker said. “We’re really gearing up for our 20th anniversary, which is the following year.”

In recent years, the 11-dancer company has customarily performed for two weekends in Aspen during winter, hosting a seasonlong “dance festival” at the Aspen District Theatre, during which it presented several productions from nationally touring companies like Momix, Diavolo and Ballet West.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet also normally performs and presents visiting companies in its dual home, Santa Fe, where its sole winter 2014-15 performance will be “The Nutcracker” Dec. 20 and 21.

“We felt like we had a lot on our plate, and we are in a little bit of a calm before the storm before the 20th.”
Tom Mossbrucker
Aspen Santa Fe artistic director

The company will embark on a North American tour this winter stopping in 10 cities, beginning with Vail in January and ending with a three-city run in Canada in May.

Mossbrucker said Aspen Santa Fe will return to presenting locally in summer 2015 and will begin a celebratory 20th season one year from now. The anniversary season of winter 2015-16 and summer 2016 season will include new commissions performed by its dancers and presentations of touring companies both in Aspen and Santa Fe, Mossbrucker said.

The decision not to stage a full Aspen or Santa Fe season this winter comes after a year of significant growth for the dance company, which included acquiring the acclaimed Juan Siddi Flamenco and expanding the School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to Glenwood Springs.

Siddi’s Santa Fe-based flamenco company had earned praise but had been struggling financially before Aspen Santa Fe took over its management. The expansion downvalley to Glenwood Springs included acquiring the Glenwood Dance Academy and adding an estimated 150 dancers to Aspen Santa Fe’s student body. The school has also added studios in Basalt and Carbondale in recent years. The school’s Folklorico program, teaching and performing traditional Mexican dance, has gained national attention. Last year, Aspen Santa Fe launched a cultural exchange program between its Folklorico dancers and students in Harlem’s Batoto Yetu, who perform traditional African dance, and hosted joint performances here in the summers of 2013 and 2014.

That expansion of programs factored into the decision to skip winter this year, Mossbrucker explained.

“That’s another reason why we wanted to take a little bit of a breath this winter,” Mossbrucker said. “We felt like we had a lot on our plate, and we are in a little bit of a calm before the storm before the 20th.”

Read Friday’s Aspen Times for a preview of this weekend’s performances of “The Nutcracker.”

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