REGIONAL-It’s not about bringing people to the dance…but about bringing the dance to the people. Weehawken Dance Artistic Director Natasha Pyeatte spends her days in not one but a string of studios from Ouray to Montrose, working with students might not otherwise study dance.

“I teach six days a week,” said Pyeatte, who believes that the arts help to build a larger sense of community that can transcend municipal boundaries. “We have a permanent location in Ridgway, I teach aerial silks at Hypoxia Crossfit Gym in Ouray and dance at the Wright Opera House in Ouray; in Silverton we are at the school; I teach at the Sherbino in Ridgway sometimes; and in Montrose, I teach at Uncompahgre Yoga Circle.”

The schedule is brutal, but it has its rewards.

“Weehawken is a non-profit,” she said. “I don’t want to own a studio, I want to give myself to the artistic and teaching process. And I teach some kids who might not be able to afford a dance class otherwise.

“It’s all about being in all of the communities, and having kids from all of our towns perform the Nutcracker together,” she said. “It helps to create a broader community of people who are interested in the arts.”

Next Month, dancers from Ouray County, Montrose, Cedaredge, Paonia and surrounding areas will celebrate the holiday season at the Montrose Pavilion on Dec. 11 and 12, in Weehawken Dance’s enchanting annual production of The Nutcracker.   “The production illustrates not only the true magic of the program, but the magic of aligning communities and families together in a common cause,” King said.

Though Weehawken has not put on a production of the Nutcracker since 2012, audiences can expect to see some of the dancers from that production in this one, Pyeatte said.

“It will be exciting to see these kids play the older kids this time,” she said. “Our students are doing really well; we have students who have gotten into summer programs with the Joffrey Ballet, with Colorado Ballet’s summer intensive, and with BYU.”

Founded in 2004, Weehawken Dance’s parent organization, Weehawken Creative Arts, is a non-profit 501c3 organization based in Ouray County with dance programs and studios in Montrose, Ouray County, and Silverton. . While Weehawken offers classes, workshops, performances and special events year-round to adults and children in the arts and programs of personal growth, the dance program is special because performances include students from three counties, said Weehawken Executive Director Ashley King.

2015 performances of the Nutcracker will be at the Montrose Pavilion on Dec. 11 at 6 pm and Dec. 12 at 2 pm.   General Admission tickets go on sale on Nov. 16th at and many local outlets. Tickets for general admission are available in Ouray at Mouses Chocolates; in Ridgway at Cimarron Books and Coffee and Weehawken Ridgway; and in Montrose at The Montrose Pavilion and at Tiffany Etc.    General Admission tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors (65+), and $8 for children 12 and under.  In addition, reserved section seating is available (front, center rows) through Weehawken Creative Arts in the price range of $23-$26.  Patrons can access these reserved section seats through Weehawken only by calling 970-318-0150 after November 15th.