After years on the receiving side of pleading and hints, Brie Carrillo finally gave in, although she wasn't thrilled about it at first.
She wanted to create a Halloween dance show, however Tim Burton's animated "The Nightmare Before Christmas" never appealed to her. In fact, she tends to fall asleep while trying to watch the movie.
But now that she has relented and given it a go, "I'm loving it," said Carrillo, artistic director for Western Colorado Dance Theater. "This is so much better than the movie."
While designing and choreographing the show, "I followed the line of the movie ... but you know how I like to spin off on my own," she said.
She even worked in a bit of the "Beetlejuice" film — it's a favorite of hers — and "The Nutcracker" ballet into Western Colorado Dance Theater's production of "A Nightmare Before Christmas" with four performances Friday through Sunday, Oct. 25–27 at Avalon Theatre.
"A Nightmare Before Christmas" offered the opportunity for a number of big, colorful scenes, such as the opening to the show that introduces Halloween Town with dancers entering from all directions, including through the audience, Carrillo said.
There also will be large props, multiple dance styles and fantastic characters — there is one with dryer vents for arms — to be revealed as the show's plot unfolds.
"A Nightmare Before Christmas" tells the story of Jack Skellington, who leads Halloween Town in producing the annual Halloween holiday celebration.
However, Jack has become bored with Halloween and while checking out other holidays, decides to take over Christmas.
Santa Claus is kidnapped, and Jack distributes Halloween-themed Christmas gifts to the world. They aren't well-received, and the whole thing is a disaster until Santa is rescued and saves Christmas.
Fans of the movie will notice a few differences between the film and the dance show, Carrillo said.
The doors that Jack finds that open to other holidays have been replaced with dancers representing those holidays.
Oogie Boogie, the bogeyman, who nearly kills Santa in the movie, is more kid friendly in this show. "He's just kind of funny," Carrillo said.
Oogie Boogie even has a hip-hop battle with Santa, and "it's pretty epic," she said.
And "The Nutcracker" enters the show in the forms of the Sugar Plum Fair and Snow Queen who meet Jack in Christmas Town.
All of the costumes are dramatic, and the make up "is pretty intense, It's like a movie set," Carrillo said.
There is a team of about 30 people doing hair and make up for the show, and it takes more than two hours to get all the dancers ready, she said.
One of those dancers, Olivia Wood, the 17-year-old dancer who will perform as Jack, has hair that falls all the way down her back. But Jack is bald.
Along with having her hair and looks transformed by make up, Wood also had to adjust her dance style to become Jack.
Wood and Carrillo studied how male dancers move, how they partner a female dancer and how Jack moves in the movie.
"We kind of tied all that together" to create a style for Jack," Carrillo said. "She (Wood) makes it look very natural."
With a cast of more than 50 dancers age 4 to adults, "A Nightmare Before Christmas" has been quite an undertaking, but "it's going to be pretty incredible," Carrillo said.