Local boy bound for stardom, if 'Nutcracker' season doesn't kill him
Who: The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho and Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale
When: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Tickets: $29-$52; 520-7469, pikespeakcenter.com
Colton West’s schedule is a bit crazy this time of year – during what he calls “Nutcracker” season.
On Fridays, he practices with the Colorado Youth Ballet from 6-7:45 p.m. From 2-8 p.m. on Saturdays, he’s practicing with Sangre de Cristo Ballet in Pueblo. And on Sundays from noon-6:30 p.m., you can find him with Ballet Idaho and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.
The rehearsals alone would be hectic, but 15-year-old West’s weekday schedule includes pre-calculus, honors English and chemistry. If that’s not enough, he also had a part this month in his high school’s production of the musical “Legally Blonde.”
“It gets stressful at times. I have to get good grades,” says West, a sophomore at Lewis Palmer High School. “But I love doing it so much.”
After not dancing in “The Nutcracker” for a few years, West decided to try out for the annual performance by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale and Ballet Idaho. Entering the August audition, West was trying out for a role in the ensemble.
About half way through the auditions, he was pulled aside and told that Ballet Idaho wanted him for a company spot.
“I was super excited,” says West, who will celebrate his 16th birthday on stage during the second night’s performance. “Last year I went and saw it and they were extremely talented. It’s an honor to perform this.”
The role of the Nutcracker Prince is a coveted one. In previous years, San Diego Ballet and Ballet Idaho used their own company dancers in the role.
"As a group focused on the Pikes Peak region, it gives us great satisfaction and delight to have local performers on the stage at the Pikes Peak Center,” says Nathan Newbrough, president and CEO of the philharmonic. “Colton is a wonderful example of the artistry and dedication present in our area, and we look forward to watching his career as a dancer unfold."
His mother Holly says they never expected to be selected for a role outside the ensemble. This marks West’s first professional role. And after a break from “The Nutcracker,” he’s performing in three this year.
West has something else to look forward to while on stage: His brother Gray, 7, will be dancing in his first “Nutcracker” as the littlest mouse.
When he was younger, West played baseball and football, but says, “I was never a very coordinated kid.”
Meanwhile, he watched two of his sisters in their dance classes. “The studio didn’t have any windows,” he says. “I would watch their feet through the crack under the door. It was amazing and beautiful.”
His parents let him take his first ballet class when he was 8. He trains now at a Time to Dance Studio in Monument and is in the process of preparing his application for the summer-intensive program at New York’s The Julliard School.
West’s goal is to be a company dancer and someone who boys his age will be able to look up to.
But first, he has make it through “Nutcracker” season.