Berthoud Dance Co. to perform “The Nutcracker” with 1970s twist

Courtesy photo – Nolan Smith, playing the Nutcracker in Berthoud Dance Company’s “The Nutcracker,” practices a pose Nov. 21 with Olivia Noltimier, who plays Clara. The company will present the ballet Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Rialto Theater Center.

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

Want to step back into the 1970s this holiday season and still get your traditional fix of “The Nutcracker?”

Berthoud Dance Co. will perform the ballet Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Rialto Theater Center in Loveland, with a retro look full of psychedelic colors.

“It’s basically ‘The Nutcracker’ and, of course, Drosselmeyer gives his favorite goddaughter or niece, depending on the story, a Nutcracker on Christmas Eve, and it happens to be Christmas Eve 1970,” said David Mineo, artistic director and owner of Berthoud Dance Co., a dance school and performance company founded in Berthoud in 2004.

Berthoud Dance Co. will follow the traditional storyline of the two-act ballet, but with a 1970s slant and include the score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a Russian composer from the Romantic period.

“It’s just what was happening in the 1970s a year after Woodstock; with peace, love and Rock ’n Roll and the flower children,” Mineo said.

The first act of the ballet starts in a living room and mainly consists of a party scene when Drosselmeyer presents Clara with the Nutcracker as a Christmas gift. In Mineo’s rendering, the living room will be full of 1970s décor including a 1970s chair that was part of the stage set last year. The Berthoud Dance Co. had performed the ballet for the first time since 2006 at the request of the city of Loveland, and the chair inspired Mineo to try something different for this year’s showing.

“The pattern of the chair made me think it would be a fun time to set ‘The Nutcracker,’” Mineo said. “There’s definitely hundreds, if not thousands, of Nutcrackers around the country. Everybody does it, but it’s the same storyline. Some people mix it up, and that’s something I wanted to do.”

The stage set includes a loveseat, a lamp, and presents around a Christmas tree. Clara falls asleep with the magical Nutcracker, and her dreams take them around the world to places like Spain, Arabia, China, Russia, the Land of Flowers, and the Land of Snow.

Clara is played by Olivia Noltimier and the Nutcracker, Nolan Simon. Mineo will be Drosselmeyer.

“The set is really crazy and fun. Some of the music is different than the original,” said Noltimier, 11, who lives in Berthoud, adding that with the costumes, “some of them are a little crazy, but if it’s ’70s theme, it’s really nice.”

During the different variations or pieces, performers will be wearing 1970s costumes, such as bell bottoms, polyester shirts, and flower costumes with go-go boots, and doing some retro dance moves like the swim, robot and puppy dog.

Mineo encourages the audience to dress up, too, wearing things like bell bottoms, polyester, headbands and John Lennon glasses.

“It’s going to be real fun. It’s definitely a fun time,” Mineo said.

The show will include 65 to 75 performers from Berthoud Dance Co. and a guest appearance in the second act from Spoke N Motion Dance, a wheelchair dance company in Denver. The company will perform during Clara and the Nutcracker’s Land of Snow and Russian visits.

Berthoud Dance Co., which has been performing at the Rialto Theater Center for 12 years, presents two dance performances a year at the theater, plus performs at senior centers and other locations throughout the year.

The dress rehearsal for “The Nutcracker” is 5 p.m. Nov. 29, and is free to the public. Performances are at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and 2 p.m. Dec. 1. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased at http://www.rialtotheatercenter.org/calendar/. The theater adds a seat fee. For more information about Berthoud Dance Co., visit https://berthouddancecompany.com/index.html.

“They’ll get a kick out of it,” Mineo said. “We make it really fun for the audience. … It’s a creative show. The way we started and ended is different from a lot of companies. It will leave a lasting impression.”

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