Thursday, September 18, 2014

Colorado Ballet presents spine-tingling Dracula during Halloween weekend

Colorado Ballet will present Dracula, October 31-November 2, 2014 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  Dracula features choreography by Michael Pink and music by Philip Feeney, performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

“Come sink your teeth into this spine-tingling ballet full of seductive vampires, frightening mental patients and the king of the undead himself, Count Dracula,” said Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet Artistic Director.  “Our audience requests this production over and over again and we cannot wait to perform Dracula during Halloween weekend this year.  This is one of the most popular ballets we perform and because it is for one weekend only, we are expecting full houses for every performance.”
 
Based on Bram Stoker’s Gothic horror, Dracula contains mature content and is not recommended for children ages 13 or younger.

“Our production of Dracula is big, with grand sets including a train station, grand hotel, sanatorium, a terrifying underground vault and of course, Count Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania,” said Boggs.  “Audiences will feel like they are part of the action, as if any moment Count Dracula could sneak up behind them in the theater.  People who love the book or any of the other adaptations of this horror classic will love Colorado Ballet’s performance because the story is easy to follow and the dancing and music enhance the passion and terror of this deliciously macabre ballet.”

Performance Dates and Times:
Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 1, 2014 @ 2 p.m.
Saturday, November 1, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 2, 2014 @ 2 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $155. To purchase tickets, visit www.coloradoballet.org or call 303-837-8888 ext. 2.  Dracula is presented by PwC.

Colorado Ballet will also host several special events around Dracula including a costume party after the performance on Halloween night and a Bloody Mary Brunch for the Center Stage Young Patrons group before the November 2 performance.  For more information on either of these events, visit www.coloradoballet.org/events.

Artists of Colorado Ballet in "Dracula" by Terry Shapiro

Monday, September 15, 2014

Familiar music in A Midsummer Night's Dream

If you have never heard Felix Mendelssohn's musical score for the play of A Midsummer Night's Dream, chances are you will hear a very familiar march during Colorado Ballet's production.  Mendelssohn's world-famous Wedding March is part of the score.  He originally wrote the piece for the play A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1842.

The Colorado Ballet Orchestra will play the Wedding March and the rest of Mendelssohn's score live at the upcoming ballet A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The production will also feature live music by the Colorado Children's Chorale.

A Midsummer Night's Dream runs September 26-October 5, 2014 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  Click here for more information.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Getting to know the new dancers: Emily Speed

We sent out a questionnaire to our new dancers to get to know them a little better.  Here is the response from one of our new Corps de Ballet dancers, Emily Speed:

1.  Where are you from?
The Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area

2.  Where did you train/dance before coming to Colorado Ballet?
I have danced with several different companies including Alabama Ballet, Ballet Tucson and Boulder Ballet. Before graduating, I trained with Marina Almayeva.

3.  What did you do with your summer break?
My husband and I were married and he moved here to Denver. I also went with Kevin Wilson to Jackson, MS and competed in the USA international ballet competition there. We performed a classical pas de deux and a contemporary duet.

4.  What age did you first start dancing? What do you remember from your first class?
My first dance class I was only 3 years old but didn't start my classical training until much later. I just remember I always loved dancing and performing.
 
5.  What was your first ballet you remember attending?
It was a gala, but I remember they performed "Le Spectre de la Rose."

6.  Who are your ballet role models? Dancers that inspire you.
I love watching Natalia Osipova because she is such an amazing technician and isn't necessarily what you first think of when you think of a ballet dancer.

7.  Proudest moment in your ballet career?
It is hard to pinpoint one, but I am really proud to be where I am right now and it was a culmination of many events that has made me the dancer I am today.

8.  Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
Amanda McKerrow has always told me to just "stay present" on stage. It seems simple but for me it is always a good reminder to not think about what's already happened or what will and to truly focus on the role no matter how big or small.

9.  Favorite ballets to dance? Which are favorite to watch?
Don Quixote has so much life and is always fun to perform  and I also loved performing Serenade. I love watching all the classics but especially Giselle, Swan Lake and La Bayadere.

10.  Dream role?
Medora in Le Corsaire or Kitri in Don Quixote

11.  What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
I really enjoy spending time with my family and husband. I love yoga, cooking, and traveling.

12.  What are some of your indulgences?
Chocolate :)

13.  Do you have any pre-performance routines/rituals?
I get really chatty when I'm nervous or excited for a show but I like to have my hair done first and wait to finish my makeup until just before curtain. Depending on the part, I check certain sections from the piece on stage. If I do it well once I leave it there but I have to do it well once. I also like to say a quick prayer thanking God for the opportunity to do what I love.

14.  What production(s) are you most excited about this year?
George Balanchine's "Concerto Barocco"!!!!!

15.  What would you say to people who come to see the Colorado Ballet?
Denver is such a wonderful place with so many great things to do but there is something really special about participating in the arts. Thank you for watching and sharing in a wonderful part of this community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Colorado Children’s Chorale to perform with Colorado Ballet in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Colorado Ballet's upcoming season opener of A Midsummer Night's Dream will feature music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra and the Colorado Children's Chorale.  The production will run from September 26-October 5 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

About the Colorado Children's Chorale
Since 1974, the Colorado Children’s Chorale has brought its artistry and charm to audiences throughout the world. With a diverse repertoire ranging from fully staged opera and musical theater to standard choral compositions in classical, folk and popular traditions, the Chorale performs with an innovative stage presentation and a unique theatrical spirit.

The Colorado Children's Chorale annually trains 500 members between the ages of 7 and 14 from all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds representing more than 180 schools in the Denver metro area and beyond. Since its founding in 1974, the Chorale has sung countless performances with some of the world’s finest performing arts organizations, performed for numerous dignitaries, and appeared in several television and radio broadcasts.

For more information on the Colorado Children's Chorale, visit www.childrenschorale.org.

Colorado Children's Chorale

Colorado Children's Chorale
For more information about A Midsummer Night's Dream, please click here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

About the choreographer of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is a familiar name in the ballet world and Colorado Ballet will showcase his choreography in its upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream September 26-October 5 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  Wheeldon originally set A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Colorado Ballet in 1997.

This fanciful production features also features a score by Felix Mendelssohn, performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra and the Colorado Children’s Chorale.

Read more about the choreographer:
Christopher Wheeldon joined New York City Ballet in 1993 and was promoted to Soloist in 1998.  He served as NYCB’s first-ever Artist in Residence in 2000/01 and was named NYCB’s first Resident Choreographer in July 2001. Since then he has choreographed at least one ballet a year for NYCB. Outside the ballet world, he choreographed Dance of the Hours for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Ponchielli’s La Gioconda (2006), as well as ballet sequences for the feature film Center Stage (2000) and Sweet Smell of Success on Broadway (2002). In 2007, Wheeldon founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. In 2009, Wheeldon worked with Richard Eyre on a production of the opera Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera House and in 2010 his new version of The Sleeping Beauty had its premiere with The Royal Danish Ballet. His new full-length ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was created for The Royal Ballet and given its premiere at the Royal Opera House on February 28, 2011. Thirteen Diversions (created for American Ballet Theatre 2011) and Les Carrillons world premiere formed an all Wheeldon evening at the NYCB in January 2012. In 2014, he is creating a full length version of A Winters Tale for the Royal Ballet and directing and choreographing a musical version of An American In Paris, which will premiere in Paris at the Chatelet Theatre.  His awards include the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, the American Choreography Award, a Dance Magazine Award, the London Critic’s Circle Award for best new ballet for Polyphonia, two time Olivier award winner most recently for Aeternum choreographed in January 2013 for the Royal Ballet. Mr. Wheeldon’s recent production of Cinderella won the 2013 Benois De La Danse.
 
Click here for more information about Colorado Ballet's upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Semple Brown Design brings Colorado Ballet's vision for the state's dance culture to life

Colorado Ballet's new facility, designed by Semple Brown Design, brings artistic director Gil Boggs' vision to reality while elevating dance as an art form in Colorado and beyond

Colorado Ballet and Semple Brown Design, the most recognized performing arts design firm in Colorado, today announced the completion of Colorado Ballet's long awaited move into their new home at 1075 Santa Fe Street (north end of Denver's Art District on Santa Fe.) This move from the Ballet's former home of 20 years to their expansive new facility, brings Artistic Director Gil Boggs' inspiring vision for the largest resident dance company in the state to life. The new space will establish a center for dance where the Ballet will raise the profile of their unique art form in the state overall.
 
"When I think about my original vision for our new space, and what we are now surrounded by, I'm thrilled to say that this is exactly what I envisioned for Colorado Ballet," said Boggs. "We all feel a strong responsibility to further the art form, and this new space will help us truly accomplish that. Throughout my career, I've noticed that whenever a professional Company owned their own building, they flourished—not only locally, but nationally as well. We want Colorado Ballet to be in the national spotlight and our new building will finally allow us to fulfill that dream. At the core, though, the needs of the dancers, artistic staff and Academy were the driving force behind the design and amenities of this space. Thanks to our Board of Trustees, donors, patrons, Semple Brown Design and CMC Group we have a beautiful, functional new home that will allow us to enter an exciting new phase in our history."

In the fall of 2012, when Boggs turned to architect Rusty Brown, Semple Brown Design's cofounder, and Chris Wineman, the firm's performing arts specialist, to convert a former warehouse into a modern studio for Colorado's premier ballet company, he asked for more than the six studios he had available at their leased space on Lincoln and 13th and a minimum of two studios with floor space that would span the depth and breadth of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House stage so Company dancers could transfer their ballets from rehearsal to stage without adaptation or adjustment. Today, their new space is comprised of eight studios—two the size of the Ellie stage—as well as improved amenities for the Company, including separate locker rooms and showers, a physical therapy and massage room to encourage wellness and prevent injuries, a shared staff and dancer lounge to foster greater interaction between them, as well as safer student drop-off and increased parking in the neighborhood for Academy families. A black box performance space was also on Boggs’ wish list; one that could be used as a studio, yet be converted to a community performance space for more intimate experiences. The new Black Box Theater will enable Colorado Ballet to add in-house productions to their repertoire, foster up-and-coming choreographers—both within the Company and outside, and allow choreographers to practice their craft and present their works to supportive audiences.
 
Additionally, the increase in the number of Academy studios, their prominent location and visibility also demonstrate how education continues to be a priority for Boggs. "It is the future," he notes. Up to seven dedicated studios will increase and diversify the Academy’s programming. Academy students will have opportunities to perform in the Black Box Theater for First Fridays and other occasions. A new Pre-professional Program will also be launched this fall where high school students will travel to Denver to train with an academic component included. Company rehearsals and Academy classes have commenced for the fall season.
 
Ultimately, Colorado Ballet's new location represents a literal physical move, as well as a philosophical shift to a new place—a place that's more deeply embedded in its community, and more accessible to all. Semple Brown designed the building with an abundance of glass and open views to allow the Ballet to reach outward into the neighborhood rather than keep its art and activities within. Brown and Wineman also embraced their client's awareness of changing demographics, and how many cultural institutions are intrinsically tied to the community today. To this end, the new building is located outside of the downtown core in a highly diverse arts and cultural district reflecting the role Colorado Ballet will play as the organization moves into the future and becomes increasingly accessible to younger and more diverse audiences. The building's approachable scale also allows the organization to better support their mission to educate the next generation of students through their Academy programs and outreach. And finally, the building helps infuse greater morale within the Company through the establishment of an elegant new home and sense of the Ballet's intrinsic value while emphasizing Colorado Ballet's important contribution to the state and beyond. In Wineman's words, "A 'First Class' space means something—it supports a more substantial vision of what the future can be."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Colorado Ballet Academy Pre-professional Program starts tomorrow

Colorado Ballet Academy will start its Pre-professional Trainee Program tomorrow.  Students must be in high school to be invited to join the pre-professional trainee program and must meet the minimum standards regarding pointe work (for girls) and the physicality generally considered necessary for professional success in classical ballet.  Several of our pre-professional students this fall will participate in online academic programs to allow for more concentration on their ballet training.
 
When not in a concentrated academic environment students, will attend two daily ballet technique classes, augmented with pointe, pirouette and allegro, pas de deux, modern, character, pilates, variations and choreography classes taught by Colorado Ballet Academy faculty members as well as occasional guest artists. Pre-professional trainees may be invited to perform with the Colorado Ballet Company when repertory permits. They may also perform in outreach programs at schools, community centers, and special events, as well as their own full evening performances. Our year-long program culminates in the entire schools Spring Showcase performance in mid-May. At the end of each year, pre-professional students are given first priority for openings in the Colorado Ballet Studio Company as well as admittance to the following year's program.
 
Our all inclusive training program provides a necessary base to ease the transition from student to professional dancer in a focused nurturing environment. Housing and billeting options are available on request.

Click here for more information.

Pre-professional
Pre-professional students by Francisco Estevez Photography