Principal dancer Dana Benton and artists of the Colorado Ballet perform in "The Nutcracker."

(Courtesy of Mike Watson)

“The Nutcracker” is a holiday staple for most American ballet companies. Telling the story of young Clara and her adventures with the Nutcracker Prince, the beloved holiday ballet set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's musical score is filled with fantastical characters, childlike whimsy and Christmas magic. But with more than 26 shows scheduled this season, “The Nutcracker” is more than just make believe and fairies for the Colorado Ballet. It's a test of physical, mental and logistical endurance.

This feature story originally aired on Dec. 17, 2014. We've updated the audio, which will be attached above after noon today, to reflect 2015 data. The conversation with Colorado Ballet principal dancer Sharon Wehner first aired in September.