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Ballet Nouveau Colorado's "Intersection"

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I made my second trip to see Ballet Nouveau Colorado's Intersection last night. This work, which was choreographed by their artistic director, Garrett Ammon, is by far the best thing that I've seen them do. It was one of those experiences that can keep you awake half the night pondering the questions that it raised. Unfortunately, it isn't doing well at the box office, a fate that frequently befalls serious, "heavy" productions, at least in Denver.

Intersection deals with Ammon's favorite theme, which is does growing up mean accepting, and even embracing, the ordinariness of life. It is a "story" work (I would classify most of the choreography as modern dance rather than ballet) about a teen-age boy growing up in a boring suburban neighborhood who a month before his high school graduation decides simply to vanish. His father wonders what he did wrong, even trying to engage with the spirit of his deceased wife, while his sister grieves, his girlfriend tries to imagine what adventures he's undertaking, and the detective from the missing persons bureau is haunted by seeing a little too much of the boy in himself.

Intersection was the continuation of Ammon's work in incorporating poetry as well as music into dance, first tried at last year's Love, A Joint Venture. At times, there was poetry reading as well as music accompanying the dancers. At other times, the dancers recited poetry on stage. There was also extensive use of video, sometimes accentuating the dance and sometimes being the central focus (I'm sure that those who hate miming in dance performances would cringe at this, but I thought that it was very effective). The videos generally featured the dancers in acting roles, e.g., the father walking the streets of the neighborhood reminiscing about the important events in the boy's life and hoping that somehow the boy's deceased mother would be watching. The poetry was written specifically for the production by a local writer named Michael Henry while the music consisted excerpts from piano works (only music performed on a solo instrument would have fit this piece) by Bach, Chopin, Debussey, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, and someone named Christian Sinding.

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cont.: Intersection consisted primarily of solos and duets, as the various friends and family members either tried to deal with the boy's disappearance or reminisced. His best friend re-lived the day that the boy's mother died while his sister re-visited a trip to an amusement park. The highlight was a soft, romantic duet for his parents, which ended with his mother disappearing into the darkness (and the audience reaching for kleenex). The choreography to me seemed to be at a more appropriate level for a professional dance company than their previous program, Pop.

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