The Colorado Ballet opens it 50th anniversary season with something a bit out of step with classic ballet.
Friday, Sept. 10, the company stages a one-weekend-only performance, filled with three distinct choreographic styles.
"It's an exciting program," said ballet mistress Sandra Brown. "You come away with a sense of, 'Wow, this is something new and different.' It breaks the mold of what you expect to see in classical ballet."
The show opens with Edwaard Liang's "Feast of the Gods," which artistic director Gil Boggs is bringing back by audience demand, from its world premiere by Colorado Ballet in 2009. The dance embodies the history and passion of traveling gypsies, with intricate choreography and a fast-paced pas de deux.
"I absolutely love this ballet and love that we are showcasing it at the Newman Center," Boggs said. "It really displays the dancers' technique in an intimate environment, and audiences will be completely amazed by the phenomenal artistry."
The second third, "... Smile with My Heart," contrasts "Feast of the Gods" by presenting a smaller number of dancers wearing short dresses and letting their hair down, in addition to dancing on flat soles (rather than en pointe (on the tips of toes)). It depicts a plotline about various dynamics of love, exposing three relationships, which illustrate playfulness, hardship and a final acceptance of love.
"The contrast is very nice visually, and musically, it is very, very different," Brown said.
Brown performed the world premiere of the piece at American Ballet Theatre. In fact, Lar Lubovitch choreographed the piece using Brown in 2001.
"Helping to reset and restate it is very natural for me because I know his movements very well," she said.
The anniversary presentation closes with a commissioned piece by Matthew Neenan, who has garnered a reputation for his fresh, imaginative and technically challenging pieces.
"He has a very innovative way of looking at classical ballet," Boggs said.
In its totality, the repertoire breaks boundaries both physically and technically, Brown said.
"It feeds the dancers," she said. "It's creative work, it's challenging work, and it's something different (for both dancers and the audience)."