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When is it appropriate to gawk at men (and all humans) in tights while munching on popcorn and listening to Christmas music?

Maybe at your eccentric uncle’s holiday parties, and those sounds like a lot of fun. But the only place we know of is The Nutcracker. And Colorado Ballet’s production of the beloved holiday classic does not disappoint.

When it comes to the story, there’s not much new to report. This rendition of the Christmas classic doesn’t really stray from the original story. Clara, a wealthy teen, is enthralled with the nutcracker her eccentric uncle (what is up with those!) brings her for Christmas. Despite his being a little creepy, she’s totally stoked on his gift. But her bratty brother, Fritz, breaks her nutcracker.

What happens next is like a candy cane-fueled version of Alice in Wonderland. Clara falls asleep and is treated to all kinds of odd dreams, from evil rats to her nutcracker coming to life and turning into a handsome prince. The dreams are what make up three-fourths of the story, and they are just as glorious and visually appealing as the opening scene in Clara’s lavish parlor.

As usual, the Colorado ballet pulled off flawless costuming and scenery. Each set change is more enchanting than the last, and all of the dances were executed beautifully. Just as The Nutcracker should be, everything works in perfect harmony to deliver a gorgeous show. And yes, there are plenty of men in tights.

Photos: Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson. Photos courtesy of Colorado Ballet