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Colorado Ballet Announces 2015-2016 Season

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Sanya Andersen-Vie - March 2, 2015

DENVER – Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs announced the 2015-2016 season, which will feature Colorado and world premiere ballets, a production the Company has not performed in 20 years, and the 55th annual production of The Nutcracker.

Colorado Ballet opens its 55th season with the romantic ballet La Sylphide, October 2-11, 2015 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. This ballet features choreography by August Bournonville and music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold, performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Bournonville choreographed La Sylphide in 1836, making it one of the oldest surviving ballets. In the production, a young Scotsman pursues a beautiful, bewitching winged sylph, or spirit.

“The Company last performed La Sylphide in 1996 and I wanted to present it this season because it is one of the most beautiful, romantic ballets of all time,” said Boggs. “In his quest for the unattainable love of the sylph, the young Scotsman abandons his fiancé and ultimately loses everything. The ballet demonstrates temptation, loss and loving something you cannot have.”

The season continues with The Nutcracker, November 28 through December 27, 2015 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Nutcracker features more than 300 costumes, 30 Company dancers, 20 Studio Company dancers, 65 Academy dancers, scenery by José Varona and timeless choreography paired with Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

“Colorado Ballet’s enchanting presentation of The Nutcracker is the largest production of the holiday favorite in Colorado,” said Boggs. “Do not wait to purchase your tickets to watch Clara and the Nutcracker Prince’s magical wintertime journey to the delicious Land of Sweets. Nearly every performance was sold out during in 2014, so we encourage patrons to buy their tickets early.”

In the spring, Colorado Ballet will fall down the rabbit hole for the Colorado premiere of Alice (in Wonderland), February 19-28, 2016 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” the ballet includes choreography by Septime Webre and music by Matthew Pierce, performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Alice (in Wonderland) first premiered in 2012 and the choreography merges traditional ballet movements with contemporary ballroom, modern and hip-hop steps.

“This isn’t your typical, classical storybook children’s ballet. Alice (in Wonderland) is a charming theatrical extravaganza with colorful costumes, whimsical sets and a wide variety of dance styles,” said Boggs. “Come watch the adventures of Alice in a strange land filled with eccentric and entertaining characters including the frantic White Rabbit, mysterious Cheshire Cat, peculiar Mad Hatter, terrifying Jabberwock and the wicked Queen of Hearts.”

Colorado Ballet will close its season with a collection of contemporary premieres in Ballet Director’s Choice, March 25-27, 2016 at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. Renowned contemporary choreographer Dominic Walsh will be doing a work for the Company. Walsh is a former Principal Dancer and Choreographer with Houston Ballet and founder of contemporary ballet company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. The repertory will also include the premiere of a tango-inspired ballet by choreographer Lorita Travaglia. In addition to her work as Ballet Mistress at Colorado Ballet, Travaglia is the Creative Director of Parasol Arts, a non-profit organization that takes inspiration from the art of Argentine Tango. The production will include a third work to be announced at another date.

Ballet Director’s Choice highlights the talents of Colorado Ballet’s dancers through a diverse selection of new works,” said Boggs. “Audiences will see a range of different dancing styles, from contemporary to Tango, all in one amazing performance. Ballet Director’s Choice is the perfect production to debut exciting world premiere ballets with our extremely talented Company.”

Season subscriptions are on sale now and single tickets will be on sale July 15. Visit www.coloradoballet.org for more information.

In addition to the season productions, Colorado Ballet will also perform at the Vail International Dance Festival on August 2 and August 10, 2015. This is the first time since 2011 that the Company has performed at the festival. In addition, Colorado Ballet will perform at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts on August 22, 2015. The Company will also present an encore of its Ballet Director’s Choice in April 2016 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. For more information on these additional performances, visit www.coloradoballet.org.

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I don't follow along with the company very closely -- is this balance between program length work and mixed rep the standard combination for them?

(I've been noticing several companies cutting back on their mixed rep programming...)

For the last few years, they have done a big production in the fall/October (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Midsummer Nights' Dream-Wheeldon) - 8 performances. These are well-attended and very well done. Their Nutcracker runs all of December (about 26 performances) and has done very well, at least in recent years.

The winter program in February is the opportunity for a mixed bill they call Ballet Masterworks. In 2015 last month, they did 8 performances of Concerto Barocco, In Pieces (Caniparoli/Ruders), and Fancy Free. But they closed off the top two tiers of the Opera House and it still seemed to be a tough sell. I told friends that even NYCB closes off top tiers for some of their mixed bills, so this wasn't surprising. I thought it was spectacular and went to every performance, by far the best of the year for serious ballet lovers. In 2013 their Masterworks program in February was also quite wonderful: Theme and Variations, In Pieces (the premiere - Caniparoli made the work on them), and Tetley's Sacre du Printemps. But it seemed to be another tough sell, at least judging from the audience sizes.

Alternating in the winter is full-length work that seems to sell better. 2016: Alice (in Wonderland). 2014: Cinderella (Stevenson). 2012: Peter Pan (Michael Pink). 2011: Romeo & Juliet. I enjoyed these (especially the R&J), but the mixed bills in 2013 and 2015 were just wonderful; it's sad that ballet audiences don't seem to grasp how much great choreography and performance they'll see. And it seems to me that the dancers love those mixed bills. I like seeing some of the best soloists and corps members getting opportunities to shine in the Masterworks programs. But if NYCB and ABT have trouble selling mixed bills in New York City, it's no surprise that Denver has the same issue.

The Ellie Caulkins Opera House seats 2,225: http://artscomplex.com/Venues/EllieCaulkinsOperaHouse/tabid/74/Default.aspx

The Kennedy Center Opera House seats 2,350. The State Theater in NYC: 2,586

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Great explanation, California!

I have had the opportunity to be in town for several of their full-length works the past couple of years and have been impressed with the caliber of dancing. In my opinion, the dancing exhibited by this company, was more cohesive than some of the bigger companies that I have seen. The fact that they are going back to Vail makes me smile as I think that they are being recognized in a "high profile" event.

I was a bit disappointed to see that Dracula wasn't coming back in Fall 2015. The performances were completely sold out this past fall. However, I imagine that going from Midsummer, to Dracula, to Nutcracker was absolutely brutal to all those involved.

Maybe Mr. Boggs will alternate years that they do Dracula with the year that they do the mixed-bill in February??

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