Ballet West's 'Nutcracker' wows a hardened D.C. critic
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A Scrooge's heart has been warmed in Washington, D.C. — after a visitation not by three spirits but by Salt Lake City's Ballet West.

Ballet West took its long-running production of "The Nutcracker" to Washington's Kennedy Center this week, and received a rave review from the Washington Post's Sarah Kaufman, who said the show could "banish ghosts of sugar-plum hangovers past."

Kaufman praised Ballet West's respect for the Tchaikovsky score, its gorgeous set design, and the "charmingly exotic" look of the second act's fantasy elements. She called husband-and-wife dancers Christiana Bennett and Christopher Ruud "a winsome pair" as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.

Kaufman also heaped praise on Ballet West's artistic director Adam Sklute's drive to respect the classic repertoire while also being "uniquely positioned to be a ballet director to bring the art form into the modern age."

In all, Kaufman said, "from end to end, this 'Nutcracker' was put over with an effervescent touch."

Ballet West performs "The Nutcracker" at The Kennedy Center through Sunday, then returns home for performances at Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre starting Thursday, Dec. 13, through Dec. 29.