Entertainment » Theatre

Colorado Ballet ’Jetes’ Under the Stars

by Lewis Whittington
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

Gil Boggs, artistic director of Colorado Ballet, hits the ground running for the company's upcoming 51st season with a dance concert sampler called Night Under the Stars at the Arvada Center for the Arts, an open-air venue outside of Denver.

Boggs was between rehearsals last week when EDGE caught up with him to chat. "The upcoming concert is a great way to ease back into the season. With it, we hope we can attract new audience members. We were invited there four or five years ago; now we perform there every year."

"We're also rehearsing our opener 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'The Rite of Spring,' which will be later in the season. For that, we're doing Glen Tetley's 'Rite,' which he choreographed in Frankfurt in 1974 and some people consider it one of the best versions. We're doing it in February for the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's score. I can tell you it's pretty spectacular," Boggs said.

Expanding repertory

Colorado Ballet is a mid-size company, with a versatile roster of dancers from the US and around the world. Boggs continues to expand the repertory and has brought in some of the most innovative and exciting choreographers from around the country, resulting in recent premieres by Jodie Gates, Annie Seiwart and Matt Neenan. The company has a longstanding reputation for strong classical technique; that attracted Boggs to the company. He was named artistic director in 2007 after retiring from the American Ballet Theatre for whom he danced for over twenty years.

"I grew up watching, and being able to dance, among the best," he recalled. "When I interviewed for this position, I was instantly excited about the potential of this company."

The Colorado Ballet marked its 50th anniversary last year and Boggs said it was a great honor for him. Because of hard economic realities, he wasn’t able to do all of events, program wise, that he had hoped to stage, but was still able to mark the occasion in style and substance.

"I was able to put together ’Tribute,’ a program featuring women choreographers, doing three premieres on Colorado Ballet to honor Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker, who established the company in 1961." Both founders are now deceased. Covillo was able to attend the company’s tribute to her, "which made it particularly meaningful," Boggs said.

Enya meets Pachebel

Through retired from the stage, Boggs is never far from performance as a hands-on artistic director. When leading rehearsals or teaching classes, he looks like he could take center stage at any moment.

"Once you make performing your life and then leave it, you always miss that artistic expression. But the daily grind of rehearsal, I don’t miss that," he laughs.

For the "Night of the Stars" concert, the company will perform the "Jewels" act and the famous "Bluebird" pas de deux from Tchaikovsky’s "Sleeping Beauty." Also they’ll be performing "One by One" choreographed by Sandra Brown, with a score by the unlikely duo of 17th century German composer Pachelbel (famous for his "Canon") and contemporary Irish singer Enya that "fuses classical and contemporary," as Boggs describes. Principal dancer Kevin Thomas will dance a self-choreographed solo. They are also doing a dance from "Tribute" by Jodie Gates.

"All of the principals and soloists (except for one) will be dancing for ’Night of the Stars.’ I’m very proud of the ability of these dancers, they are wonderful dancers," the director said.

The Colorado Ballet performs Night Under the Stars on August 30, 3012 at the Arvada Center for the Arts, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, CO. The company opens their season with "Sleeping Beauty" on October 5, 2012. For more information, visit the Colorado Ballet website.

Lewis Whittington writes about the performing arts and gay politics for several publications.


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