By Murat Oztaskin | November 21, 2014 | Culture
The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet interprets The Nutcracker and other must-see cultural happenings.
The Aspen Sante Fe Ballet brings The Nutcracker to life on December 13 and 14.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet enjoys celebrated home seasons in both of the cities for which it’s named, as well as year round national and international touring. But it is the company’s whimsical interpretation of the holiday classic The Nutcracker (December 13–14) that shines brightest in its Aspen winter season. Incorporating ballet with flamenco, Chinese silk dancing, and circus artistry (the show even features an aerialist), ASFB brings its trademark innovative choreography to the classic tale of gingerbread soldiers, sugarplum fairies, and handsome princes. The company’s 11 classically trained principals are joined by dozens of supplemental dancers, actors, and circus artists to create an all-ages display perfect for the holiday season. Aspen District Theatre, 355 High School Road, 970-925-7175
For more than 35 years, Aspen Film has brought the Roaring Fork Valley the best of the film festival circuit. And, for the 23rd time, they’ll also bring Aspen the best of the best, period. With Academy Screenings (December 22 through January 3), Aspen Film counts down the movies sure to be all the buzz come awards season, such as the frontier drama The Homesman . In what has come to be a beloved holiday tradition, movielovers and industry professionals alike gather to see some of the best films of the year, from big-budget, starry features to new indie voices. Programs will be announced in early December, with tickets going on sale mid-December. Wheeler Opera House, 320 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-6882
Jazz vocalist René Marie performing at the JAS Café Downstairs in June 2014.
Now in its fifth year, Jazz Aspen Snowmass’s JAS Café Downstairs, at The Little Nell, has Aspenites tapping their feet throughout the cold with star-studded winter programming. The Café ensures jazz is a year-round presence in Aspen, with seven evening summer concerts and eight weekends of winter performances. The intimate space, with its small, candlelit tables, seats just over 100 guests, who can order snacks, small plates, and cheese boards from the bar menu upstairs—not to mention booze from The Nell’s celebrated bar program. The Café stages top-tier jazz, vocal, and world music from internationally acclaimed artists. This winter season is one of the best yet, with performances by Nicole Henry, a dynamic and soulful vocalist who sings everything from blues standards and classic jazz to the Great American Songbook (January 1–3), and the venerable Mexican-American percussionist Poncho Sanchez, whose repertoire spans Latin jazz, swing, salsa, bebop, soul, and funk (March 13–14). 110 E. Hallam St., Ste. 104, 970-920-4996
The Wheeler Opera House kicks off 2015 with a New Year’s Eve party led by the high-octane Dirty Dozen Brass Band (December 31). Tickets include food, an open bar, and a Champagne toast. And winter keeps rocking with performances from bluegrass virtuosos Jeff Austin Band (January 18); a bevy of jazz artists featuring four-time Grammy-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves (February 4) and pianist Marcus Roberts (February 14); and ABBA Mania (PICTURED LEFT, March 6), which runs the gamut of ABBA’s hits—just be wary of platforms in the snow… 320 E. Hyman Ave., 970-920-5770
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROSALIE O’CONNOR PHOTOGRAPHY/COURTESY ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET (SANTA FE BALLET); STEVE MUNDINGER (JAS CAFÉ); COURTESY WHEELER OPERA HOUSE (ABBA)