Ballet West's 1990 "Nutcracker" was a sold-out success everywhere it played, with a record-breaking 37,571 people enjoying the traditional Christmas seasonal treat - an increase of 2,000 patrons over last year. Of the 20 Salt Lake performances available to the public, the final 18 were completely sold out.

According to publicist Teresa Solorio, sellout houses were the rule on tour as well, including seven performances in Anchorage, Alaska, in late November, and four performances in San Antonio, Texas, in early December.The company also received excellent response to its new offer of a special "Doll and Bear" performance for local schools, hospitals, stores, businesses and private parties. More than 30 performances of this 10-minute excerpt were danced throughout the Salt Lake area. "Doll and Bear" appearances will be available again next year.

Always the most financially successful ballet of the year, "The Nutcracker" generated additional income from two other sources. The traditional Sugar Plum parties showed increased attendance, raising more than $2,000 in scholarship funds for the Ballet West Conservatory. And all available tickets for a new tradition, "Daddy-Daughter Night at the Nutcracker," were sold out, bringing in an extra $2,500. Organizers are looking at ways of expanding this evening next year.

The 1991 "Nutcracker" should gain additional interest for its new scenery and costumes, designed by Ariel Ballif and funded by donations from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundations and the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation. Those interested in contributing to the new "Nutcracker" may contact the Ballet West development office, 524-8304.

- At its midwinter conference luncheon in January, the Utah Association for Gifted Children honored Ballet West with its UAGC Community Contribution Award for its "Ballet West for Children" program, designed to give elementary school audiences an introduction to the art of ballet.

This award is given to an organization that presents a positive role model for young people by using its gifts and talents within the community.