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Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet in Denver, 9/23/12

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I'm not sure whether this post belongs here or under "Other American Ballet Companies". I put it here because I would consider this show to be Modern Dance rather than Ballet (moderators: feel free to move it).

I was underwhelmed by the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet's performance 2 years ago, but I went to the second of their 2 performances this weekend at the University of Denver anyway. I wasn't quite as underwhelmed, but I wouldn't have minded having not spent the money or time.

There were 3 pieces, all in the 20-25 minute range and all were abstract works. None of the 3 seemed to have any overarching theme to it, the first piece, Square None (choreographed by 23 year-old Norbert de la Cruz III) in particular seeming to consist of a series of ideas with little connection. They all, at least in parts, seemed to be portraying people working out. They all seemed to have lots in them that served no purpose other than to fill up time. They all to varying degrees bored me, with the middle piece, Stamping Ground (choreographed by Jiri Kylian) being annoying to sit through, the first 15 minutes seeming to serve no purpose but to add length since no one would pay for a 10-minute dance work.

The dancers in the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet are incredibly athletic, as well as attractive, and one thing that stands out about their performances is that I've never seen anyone look the least bit off kilter. I think that it's tragic that the they can't seem to find any choreographers who are capable of creating works that are of the same quality as the dancers. The previous night, I attended an exhibition by the Colorado Ballet at which they performed a work that they premiered in Spring, Embellish (by Jody Gates), and I was struck by how much more unified that work was than were any of the pieces performed by the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet, even though Embellish is also an abstract rather than story ballet.

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