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Colorado Ballet 2016-17 Season

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This was just announced by e-mail to subscribers, but it's also on their web site:


Here's the text of the e-mail:

Swan Lake
October 7 - 23, 2016*

The Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Colorado Ballet opens its 56th season with the romantic classic, Swan Lake. This ballet features the original choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, set and updated by former American Ballet Theatre principals Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner and Sandra Brown, Ballet Mistress for Colorado Ballet. Swan Lake features Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Colorado Ballet’s production will be presented in four acts with two intermissions.

Artistic Director Gil Boggs said about Swan Lake, “This stunning masterpiece will stay true to the original ballet with revitalized choreography that premiered in 2008, and will include grand sets and elaborate costumes. Swan Lake will also feature some of the greatest acting you will ever see during a ballet performance with the lead female dancers portraying both Odette and Odile; a feat that is extremely challenging both psychologically and physically. Whether you are a die-hard ballet lover or have never seen Swan Lake before, you will love this magnificent production.”

Performance Dates

Fri Oct 7 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Oct 8 @ 2:00 pm
Sat Oct 8 @ 7:30 pm
Sun Oct 9 @ 2:00 pm
Fri Oct 14 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Oct 15 @ 7:30 pm
Sun Oct 16 @ 2:00 pm
Thurs Oct 20 @ 7:30 pm
Fri Oct 21 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Oct 22 @ 7:30 pm
Sun Oct 23 @ 2:00 pm

The Nutcracker
November 26 - December 24, 2016*
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Kick off the holiday in spectacular fashion with The Nutcracker. This enchanting adventure will transport audiences to a magical world of awe and wonder featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, onstage blizzards, timeless choreography and Tchaikovsky's extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Bring the whole family to Colorado's most joyful holiday tradition.

Artistic Director Gil Boggs said about Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker, "This tale of larger-than-life holiday magic continues to be as popular as ever, with nearly all performances sold out in 2015 and 2014. Purchase your tickets early for this dreamy production that features lavish costumes, exuberant dancing, whimsical battles, hypnotizing snow flurries, sumptuous sets, majestic live music and a little bit of magic."

Performance Dates

Sat Nov 26 @ 1:00 pm
Sat Nov 26 @ 6:30 pm

Sun Nov 27 @ 1:00 pm
Sat Dec 3 @ 1:00 pm
Sun Dec 4 @ 1:00 pm
Sun Dec 4 @ 6:30 pm

Thurs Dec 8 @ 7:30 pm
Fri Dec 9 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Dec 10 @ 1:00 pm

Sat Dec 10 @ 6:30 pm
Sun Dec 11 @ 1:00 pm
Sun Dec 11 @ 6:30 pm
Thurs Dec 15 @ 7:30 pm

Fri Dec 16 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Dec 17 @ 1:00 pm
Sat Dec 17 @ 6:30 pm
Sun Dec 18 @ 1:00 pm

Sun Dec 18 @ 6:30 pm
Mon Dec 19 @ 1:00 pm
Tue Dec 20 @ 6:30 pm
Wed Dec 21 @ 1:00 pm
Wed Dec 21 @ 6:30 pm
Thurs Dec 22 @ 1:00 pm
Fri Dec 23 @ 1:00 pm
Fri Dec 23 @ 6:30 pm
Sat Dec 24 @ 1:00 pm

Ballet MasterWorks
February 17 - 26, 2017*
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House

In the spring, Colorado Ballet will present a collection of three master ballet works to live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra in Ballet MasterWorks. Ballet MasterWorks includes Firebird, by choreographer Yuri Possokhov, Choreographer in Residence for the San Francisco Ballet and music by Igor Stravinsky. The ballet is based on the Russian folklore tale of the Firebird, a magical creature who assists Prince Ivan Tsarevich in rescuing the maiden Tsarevna from Kashchei the sorcerer. The production will also feature Serenade choreographed by George Balanchine to Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C.” Serenade was the first original ballet Balanchine created in America and is one of the signature works of New York City Ballet’s repertory. Colorado Ballet is extremely excited to present a work by choreographer Jiří Kylián for the first time—rounding out the program with Petite Mort by Kylián with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Kylián created this ballet for the Salzburg Festival on the second centenary of Mozart’s death.

Artistic Director Gil Boggs said about Ballet MasterWorks, “It is so important that we present a collection of master works every two years because it challenges our dancers and showcases their artistry and elegance. Where else can you see Firebird, Serenade and Petite Mort in one production with live music? Ballet MasterWorks also shows the caliber of dancing that audiences can see in Denver; proving that you do not need to go to New York or San Francisco to see ballet of this quality. I am so honored to present these three master ballet works to powerful live music.”

Performance Dates

Fri Feb 17 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Feb 18 @ 2:00 pm
Sat Feb 18 @ 7:30 pm
Sun Feb 19 @ 2:00 pm

Thurs Feb 23 @ 7:30 pm
Fri Feb 24 @ 7:30 pm
Sat Feb 25 @ 7:30 pm
Sun Feb 26 @ 2:00 pm

The Little Mermaid
March 31 - April 2, 2017*
June Swaner Concert Hall at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Colorado Ballet will close out its season with the children’s classic, The Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid includes choreography by Tony Award nominated choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett and original music by composer Michael Moricz. The score includes narration and lyrics with the music to enhance the telling of the story. Carolina Ballet premiered this version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story in 2012. This production will also open with a special performance of Bruch Violin Concerto No.1, choreographed by Clark Tippet featuring a vibrant violin ensemble composed by Max Bruch. Colorado Ballet first performed the Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 in 2007.

Artistic Director Gil Boggs said about our season's closing production, "The Little Mermaid is perfect for families and anyone who enjoys a classic love story. The colorful costumes, vigorous dancing and entertaining musical score will entertain audiences of all ages. This is the first time that Colorado Ballet has ever presented this classic fairy tale and will demonstrate what it looks like to dance ‘under the sea.’ Plus, the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 is always an audience favorite. This production is a colorful and fun way to close out our 2016-2017 season.”

Performance Dates

Fri Mar 31 @ 7:30 pm
Sat April 1 @ 2:00 pm
Sat April 1 @ 7:30 pm
Sun April 2 @ 2:00 pm

*All dates are subject to change

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I don't recall them doing three weeks of anything (other than Nutcracker) in the 5+ years I've been seeing this company. But that February mixed bill always seems to be a tough sell, so perhaps this makes up for it in revenue. I point out to local friends that NYCB can't sell out a mixed bill in New York City with its very knowledgeable ballet audience and incomparable Balanchine repertory in a theater roughly the same size as the Denver Opera House, so they shouldn't feel bad.

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gosh 11 Swan Lakes! I feel like I should send some advance ice buckets to the dancers for soaking. They will need them! But the mixed program looks like fun too.

I have a hunch the dancers are really happy with the next season. They have 7 wonderful principals (3 men, 4 women) + a male soloist who has been getting some very nice roles. The last time they did Swan Lake (5 years ago?) they filled out the ensemble with their studio company and they now have a large pre-professional class that might also get some opportunities. And two relentless ballet mistresses to make it all work!

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The schedule would worry me if I were still in Colorado. Unless The Little Mermaid is more than a kids' show (ala the Washington Ballet's version of The Nutcracker), they're essentially down to 2 programs plus The Nutcracker. Is the CB financially sound these days?

Mermaid seems to be outreach to develop younger audiences, much as Peter and the Wolf was last year. It's paired with Clark Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto. They did a nice job with that a couple of years ago and I'm glad to see it back on the schedule. And they still have special performances at the Arvada Center and the Lone Tree Arts Center, in addition to the major season performances at the Opera House and University of Denver.

The last time they had five different programs in a season at the opera house was several years ago (2010-11?). Since then they had a bumpy transition in executive directors and raised $8 million for the new building. At least from public statements, annual reports, and tax filings, they are very much in the black.

I've been impressed with how well they are taking advantage of the new building and its black box theater. Last fall and again this spring, they put on evenings of new choreography by several company dancers. Advanced students have done free performances at the "First Friday" programs on the Santa Fe Arts Avenue. They have collaborations/performances with the Clyfford Still Museum this spring and Denver Art Museum in the past. And they just got a big grant from the Bonfils Foundation to develop new choreography and outreach to diverse communities in the state.

It's tough to fill a 2500 seat opera house anywhere, and I'm glad they are branching out with alternative venues and audiences. Michael M. Kaiser warns at length about all the huge traditional performing arts centers around the country becoming albatrosses and the need to look at alternative venues and audiences, and it seems they're following his advice in that regard.

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