Colorado Ballet performs "In Pieces," the original piece in the company's spring production, Ballet Masterworks. The performance is showing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver Feb. 22-March 3. (Photo courtesy Mike Watson/Colorado Ballet)
Colorado Ballet performs "In Pieces," the original piece in the company's spring production, Ballet Masterworks. The performance is showing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver Feb. 22-March 3. (Photo courtesy Mike Watson/Colorado Ballet)

Denver ballet sure to impress, more worthwhile than dubstep

If you are considering purchasing tickets for a dubstep show this weekend, don’t.

The Colorado Ballet is performing three world-renowned dances, one of which has never before been performed, in Ballet MasterWorks. Ticket prices rival the prices for concerts in Boulder and Denver, but your ears and mind will be much happier at the end of the night.

Caitlin Valentine-Ellis and Dmitry Trubchanov performing "In Pieces" choreographed by Val Caniparoli at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver Feb. 22-March 3. (Photo courtesy Mike Watson/Colorado Ballet)
Caitlin Valentine-Ellis and Dmitry Trubchanov performing “In Pieces” choreographed by Val Caniparoli at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver. The show runs Feb. 22 – March 3. (Photo courtesy Mike Watson/Colorado Ballet)

The show opens with choreographer George Balanchine’s 1947 “Theme and Variations,” a traditional, romantic ballet with some twists. A dazzling pack of 26 dancers take a central pas de deux and grand polonaise, but sometimes spot on the back wall instead of the audience, and sometimes lead the women by wrists or armpits instead of fingers or waists. The 30-minute opener satisfies any hunger for storybook ballet, which the Colorado company usually sticks to.

After an intermission, men in tutus take the stage and bring unexpected delight. It would be a stretch to say that costume designers were making a statement on gender equality. More likely, the dress is meant to liken the male silhouettes to the females’, which is a main focus of the funky piece. Or, as my accompaniment said, “They’re supposed to be flies on the wall.”

Six dancers run around the stage, shake their hips, walk backwards at multiple points and depart from the usual ballet techniques of the Colorado company. “In Pieces” included movements that resembled skills I once learned in CU’s Modern Dance course.

The ballet premiered last Friday and has been the talk of the town in the week since. Choreographer Val Caniparoli wrote the piece to music by Poul Ruders, which Sanya Andersen-Vie, public relations manager for the Colorado Ballet, said he had wanted to incorporate into the dance scene for some time.

Caniparoli, the choreographer for San Francisco Ballet, has contributed to over 35 dance companies and is influenced by all forms of movement, Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs said in a news release. The piece is groundbreaking for the company that is growing and generating excitement in the Denver arts scene.

“In Pieces” far surpassed any expectations I had for the company’s first performance of the new piece, and it’ll only get better in the second, final week of the show.

Although the second piece was by far my favorite of Ballet MasterWorks, the company has really pushed its celebration of the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”.

“When it premiered in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in 1913, the music was so groundbreaking and the choreography so controversial that it nearly evoked a riot on opening night,” Boggs said. “This pro

Colorado Ballet performs "In Pieces," the original piece in the company's spring production, Ballet Masterworks. The performance is showing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver Feb. 22-March 3. (Photo courtesy Mike Watson/Colorado Ballet)
Colorado Ballet performs “In Pieces,” the original piece in the company’s spring production, Ballet Masterworks. The performance is showing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver Feb. 22-March 3. (Photo courtesy Mike Watson/Colorado Ballet)

duction promises to be just as intense. Its percussive rhythms and dissonant harmonies with the challenging choreography will be a true feast for the senses and will hopefully evoke strong emotions in the audience, without the rioting of course.”

“The Rite of Spring” is animalistic and jaw-dropping, though very different from the other performances without pointe shoes. Andersen-Vie watched the final dress rehearsal, she said, and witnessed dancers being hounded to act “more like chimpanzees and birds.”

Tickets for Ballet MasterWorks start at $28. The final performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. There is also a Sunday matinee show.

Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Alison Noon at Alison.noon@colorado.edu.

About Alison Noon

Alison is a senior at University of Colorado Boulder studying journalism and political science. She likes to run around outdoors when there's time.

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