For the sixth year, Colorado Conservatory of Dance (CCD) is offering an inclusive, sensory-friendly version of the holiday classic. Everyone deserves to experience the joys, sights and wonder of The Nutcracker, and that is exactly what CCD has planned for December 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Families with a family member who has a sensory, social or learning disability can find it difficult to enjoy a conventional theatre experience. Darkness, loud noises, tight seating and other parts of theatre are attributes many of us take for granted, but can scare, disorient or excite someone with special needs. CCD has taken all this into account and more to provide a welcoming and enjoyable experience for those persons of all ages with special needs and their families.

Photo by Amanda Tipton Photography and courtesy of Colorado Conservatory of Dance.

Photo by Amanda Tipton Photography.

The sensory-friendly performance will be the same as the other performances that are open to the public, including the same detailed sets and costumes, with a few minor changes as listed by the CCD:

  • Sound levels will be adjusted to a moderate, consistent level to avoid unpredictable loud sounds.
  • House lights will be left up to avoid total darkness.
  • Guests of Honor will be encouraged to bring manipulatives into the theatre.
  • Guests of Honor may react to the story on the stage in the way that feels right to them. They may stand up, walk around, take breaks, etc. as needed.
  • Seating will be limited to no more than half the house (300 seats) to ensure each audience member has adequate room.

After the show, the “guests of honor,” as they are called, and other audience members have the opportunity to meet the characters from the play including the Nutcracker Prince, Clara and other characters as well as international dancers and special guest stars, Adiarys Almeida and Joseph Gatti who play the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. 

CCD also offers Ballet Expressions, a program geared toward helping children with a range of special needs from Cerebral Palsy to Down Syndrome, develop physical strength, flexibility and other developmental skills.

Photo by Amanda Tipton Photography.

Photo by Amanda Tipton Photography.

The show is December 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School, 1001 West 84th Avenue in Denver. General Admission tickets are $10 and Guests of Honor get in free. Order tickets and learn more at 303-466-5685.

Other performances of CCD’s The Nutcracker are on December 17 and 18, and although these shows are not sensory-friendly performances, they are sure to delight.

About The Author

Holly Graham is a motorcycle riding, world traveling, innovative storyteller and photographer. She graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in Journalism and Media Communication as well as Languages, Literatures and Cultures with a concentration in Spanish. She enjoys hanging out with her two dogs, Wiley and Falcon, and her cat, Sprout. Check out more of Holly's work at hollygrahammedia.com.

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