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Colorado Ballet 2023-2024 season


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Colorado Ballet has announced their 2023-2024 season: https://coloradoballet.org/23-24-Season-Productions

Swan Lake always sells in Denver, as it does everywhere else. The company has other works by Val Caniparoli, so Jekyll & Hyde is a nice addition; it apparently was made for the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. This company does one Balanchine each year and Rubies will be interesting to see in spring 2024. 

SWAN LAKE

October 6–15, 2023
Colorado Ballet will open its 2023/2024 Season with Swan Lake. An iconic romantic-classical ballet that is beloved worldwide, Swan Lake features virtuosic choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, with additional choreography by Ballet Master Sandra Brown, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, with Tchaikovsky’s indelible score performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

 

THE NUTCRACKER

November 25–December 24, 2023
Fan-favorite ballet The Nutcracker returns to Denver, featuring the company’s custom-made sets and costumes which debuted in 2021. The Nutcracker is a festive, family-friendly production that has become synonymous with the spirit of holiday season and sees sold-out performances year after year. In alignment with Colorado Ballet’s mission to increase accessibility and grow a diverse audience base, a public sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker will be presented for the third year in a row. 

 

JEKYLL & HYDE

February 2–11, 2024
Colorado Ballet will treat audiences to a Denver premiere of the full-length ballet Jekyll and Hyde. Inspired by the classic Gothic novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, choreographer Val Caniparoli’s neoteric production explores the human psyche and capacity for both good and evil. Set to the music of acclaimed composers Frédéric Chopin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henryk Górecki, Wojciech Kilar and Henryk Wieniawski, Jekyll and Hyde premiered in 2020 and features scenic and costume design by David Israel Reynoso.

 

COPPÉLIA

March 8–17, 2024
For the first time in 15 years, Colorado Ballet will present Coppélia, a widely acclaimed ballet based on two short stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Renowned for its charming blend of humor and classical sensibility, Coppélia is a whimsical story of love and mistaken identity. Colorado Ballet’s adaptation features original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon, staged by Sandra Brown, Lorita Travaglia, and Maria Mosina, set to the music of Léo Delibes.

 

MASTERWORKS

April 12–21, 2024
Colorado Ballet’s 63rd Season concludes with Ballet MasterWorks. Audiences will see the return of George Balanchine’s scintillating masterpiece Rubies, choreographed to the music of Igor Stravinsky. The 2023/2024 Season’s annual repertory production will also feature a new work and a third ballet yet to be announced.

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Colorado Ballet just announced that Chris Moulton is being promoted to Principal for 2023-24. I approve! With the retirement of Yosvani Ramos and Dana Benton this spring, that will leave two female and three male principals. So I'm wondering if a female soloist will be promoted soon.

In some recent rehearsal clips, Chris can be spotted practicing a torchlift with his wife, Asuka Sasaki (already a principal), so maybe we'll see that again next year after a long absence.

Asuka used to do the torchlift with the sorely-missed Fran Estevez. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CpDOeQSgeZ0/

Edited by California
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Roster changes have been announced on their web site for 2023-24: https://coloradoballet.org/Dancers

35 dancers, including 7 apprentices

Principal

  • Retirements: Dana Benton, Yosvani Ramos
  • Newly promoted from soloist: Christopher Moulton

Soloist: 

  • Departure from the company: Nicolas Pelletier

Demi-Soloist:

  • Departure from the company: Melissa Zoebisch

Corps:

  • Promoted from Apprentice: Kenny Allen, Alexandra Gilliom
  • Departure from the company: Francesca Martoccio

Apprentices:

  • New: Lily Bines, Mylie Buck, Leopold Foster, Tate Ryner, Lili Travaglia
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Colorado Ballet just announced that they have commissioned a new ballet by Lauren Lovette for their Masterworks program in April 2024:

Colorado Ballet’s 63rd Season concludes with Ballet MasterWorks. Audiences will see the return of George Balanchine’s scintillating masterpiece Rubies, choreographed to the music of Igor Stravinsky, Yoshihisa Arai’s Boléro, set to the infamous score by Maurice Ravel. The 2023/2024 Season’s annual repertory production will also feature a new commission choreographed by Lauren Lovette, former principal dancer with New York City Ballet.

https://tickets.coloradoballet.org/events?view=list

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This afternoon I saw the seventh and final performance of Jekyll & Hyde, Val Caniparoli's new ballet. Originally made for the Finnish Ballet in 2020, it was performed last fall by the Kansas City Ballet (which often shares productions with Colorado Ballet). It is an intense work worth seeing at least once, a fascinating and ambitious undertaking. 

I confess that I have never read the Stevenson novella, but wondered how this kind of story would translate to ballet. Quite successfully, I think. It is easy to understand the dramatic developments and it has a wealth of interesting choreography. The music arranged by Ramona Pansegrau is a mix of Chopin, Penderecki, Gorecki, Kilar, and Wieniawski, which effectively underscored and helped drive the narrative. I was especially impressed with the set design by David Israel Reynoso. With no fewer than 17 scenes in two acts, the minimalist/spare sets shifted easily and unobtrusively, from insane asylum to laboratory, ballroom, tavern, city street, and back to the asylum. The dramatic lighting design by Jim French helped, as did hazy mirror reflections in many of the scenes.

As artistic relief from the intense drama, Caniparoli included some interesting and challenging partnering, especially between the young Nellie (Asuka Sasaki) and the threatening Hyde (Jeremy Studinski), as well as Rowena the prostitute (Jennifer Grace). Jonnathan Ramirez as Dr. Jekyll showed his strong acting chops along with a forceful presence in his technique.  The work uses a huge cast, with nice solo bits for many soloists and corps members. 

When I looked at the ticketing site last week, sales seemed to be pretty good for a piece of this sort. Yesterday, they announced on Facebook that all remaining seats for today's Super Bowl matinee were "pay what you want." Those seemed to disappear quickly and it was nice to have a full house for the final performance.

(Caniparoli made In Pieces for the Colorado Ballet in 2013 to a contemporary score by Poul Ruders and it's been repeated very successfully since. It was an early commentary on male-female roles, a point made effectively through the choreography. My main complaint is the silly tutu-like costumes for both males and females. But I digress...I'd love to see this one again. I'm not sure I have the emotional energy to see J&H again!)

 

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Thanks for your review, California!

I did not see the CO performances, so can't comment on these dancers, but viewed the Finnish production when it was streaming last year. I confess I really liked the opening scene in the madhouse, though very modern dance. And then the way the conventional narrative devolved into something more on the psychological plane as Jekyll (and Hyde!) began to lose control was really, really clever. 

I would definitely seek out more by this choreographer, and hope I'll get to see J&H in person someday.  

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