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Beyond The Barre: Kevin Gaël Thomas

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Beyond The Barre is an intimate, insightful and sometimes funny conversation with Colorado Ballet’s spectacular dancers.

Today’s conversation is with Kevin Gaël Thomas, newly promoted soloist who has graced the stage in performances of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and La Sylphide to name a few.

On the first day back from break, Kevin sat down with me in Studio 8. Upon meeting Kevin I could tell that he is very humble, genuinely kind and full of wisdom. He speaks with so much passion about the people he loves, dancing of course and travel. We quickly bond over our mutual love for travel, sharing stories, reminiscing on incredible adventures and celebrating the beauty of immersing yourself into a new culture.

KH: You’ve been in Colorado since 2007, but you’re originally from France, what do you miss most about France?

KGT: The food and quality of restaurants. I really miss taking the time to eat, you’re not going to eat in 30 minutes and just go but you’re really going to sit down and have a conversation.

KH: How did you know you wanted to dance ballet?

KGT: My mom is a huge fan of Grease the musical and she used to play it and I remember seeing Olivia John Newton and John Travolta just dancing and there was that beat and I would get up and start dancing. I would start improvising and dance my heart out.

Across from where I lived was an art school where the young gentlemen were singing and the young ladies were dancing. I got into that program and was singing for an entire year until they came to my parents and said, “You know, Kevin is very enthusiastic, and he’s a sweet little guy but I’m not sure singing is quite his talent. We should try to put him into the ballet program.” So because I couldn’t sing I ended up studying dance.

KH: What do you eat for breakfast?

KGT: Coffee, croissant and a banana. Café and croissant is very French, it’s a cultural thing I grew up with.

KH: If I gave you $100,000 what would you do with it?

KGT: I would spend a month in Brazil with all my peeps. We’d rent a villa or castle and party on. I’d have the time of my life with all the people I love.

KH: That sounds like a blast!

KGT: Yea, I love to share. I just lost my grandmother during Swan Lake and it made me realize how we get upset over tiny details but in the end what matters is being alive and healthy. I guess when she died the message I got was to keep sharing, keep loving. The more you love the more alive you feel. More than having the best job or $100,000, spreading love, that’s the true goal.

KH: How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

KGT: Sincere, passionate, and determined.

KH: If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring?

KGT: I would bring an MP3 that can last forever so that I could have music with me all the time. I'd have great dancers I could choreograph on because I choreograph all the time, and I would have the woman I love.

KH: What’s your favorite thing about Denver?

Being at the theater and performing. I feel I can connect with the most people in 5 minutes, I can dance for 5 minutes not needing to talk to the audience but I feel we shared something together. 

KH: Do you have a hidden talent?

KGT: I played piano for 10 years, I choreograph and I write poetry but only in French, not English yet. For some reason it’s harder to express the complexity of what I feel when I write in English. I grew up on the French Riviera, close to Nice. I wrote a poem after the attack on July 14 and also choreographed a 20 min ballet called ‘Riviera’ as homage to the victims.

KH: What is your favorite movie?

KGT:  Leon:The professional. I love the complexity that I find in films because I can relate to it, like our lives it’s not just black and white but there are so many grey areas. Also, Dracula, I’m a huge Gary Oldman fan, talk about complex characters.

KH: If you hadn’t chosen this career, what would you be doing?

KGT: I would be a musician because I played piano for 10 years and I was just as good as in dance and had the training but I end up choosing dance because I had the opportunity to come to America.

KH: What are words you live by?

KGT: “Enjoy while it lasts.” Nothing ever lasts; even your deepest depression moments. It’s going to go away because somebody’s going to give you that phone call or that one person is going to look at you and it’s going to be so comprehensive and all of a sudden you feel like you’re not alone anymore. I’m one of those guys where I’m not just going to just take a bite but I will close my eyes and savor it. It can be a New York cheesecake or potato gratin it doesn’t matter but I really like to savor things.

KH: Why do you dance?

KGT: It’s the best way for me to express my deepest emotions. When my grandmother died, I got back in the studio and told myself that I would dance for her and that helped me so much.

KH: What inspires you?

To see others on stage or in the studios transcend themselves. When I see those dancers who are able to take one moment of their lives and make something out of it all of a sudden I feel they transcend themselves. It’s not about what you see it’s about what you can perceive, what you can sense and I think that’s the beauty of the art.

KH: What advice would you give your 10 year old self?

KGT: Never let go of your dreams. Believe in your dreams and believe it is truly possible. I remember when I was getting ready to come to America and I had big dreams and everybody looked at me like I was crazy, had I listened to those people… (Drops off)

"Also, smile at life and life will smile back."

Colorado Ballet adds additional 2017 performance of The Little Mermaid

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Colorado Ballet added an additional performance of its season closer The Little Mermaid due to the large number of tickets that have already been sold.  The additional performance will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 2, 2017 at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts.

“Two of the four performances of The Little Mermaid are already sold out and the other two are extremely full, so we decided to add a fifth performance to the run,” said Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs.  “We knew that The Little Mermaid would be popular, but we did not anticipate that we would almost be completely sold out of tickets before we even open The Nutcracker.  This is the first time that Colorado Ballet has ever presented this classic ‘under-the-sea’ fairy tale and we expect tickets for the additional performance will go quickly.”

The Little Mermaid features choreography by Tony Award nominated choreographer and Denver native Lynne Taylor-Corbett and original music by composer Michael Moricz.  The score includes narration and lyrics with the music to enhance the telling of the story.  Carolina Ballet premiered this version of Hans Christian Andersen’s story in 2012.  

This production will also open with a special performance of Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, choreographed by Clark Tippet featuring a vibrant violin ensemble composed by Max Bruch.

The Little Mermaid is perfect for families and anyone who enjoys a classic love story,” said Boggs.  “The colorful costumes, vigorous dancing and entertaining musical score will entertain audiences of all ages.  Plus, we open the production with Bruch, which has become an audience favorite.”

Performance dates and times:
Friday, March 31, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. - Limited availability
Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 2 p.m. - Limited availability
Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. - Sold out
Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 2 p.m. - Sold out
Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $30 to $155.  To purchase tickets, visit www.coloradoballet.org or call 303-837-8888 ext. 2.

Dana Benton by Allen Birnbach

Sharon Wehner discusses Rhythm & Grace - Dance for Parkinson's Disease class

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sharon Wehner discusses Rhythm & Grace - Dance for Parkinson's Disease class at Colorado Ballet.

Rhythm & Grace is a partnership between Parkinson Association of the Rockies and Colorado Ballet. The methods employed by the Rhythm & Grace program encourage participants to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative, and improve quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s. For more information, visit http://coloradoballet.org.

Colorado Ballet seeks schools and organizations for free live streaming of The Nutcracker on December 2

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Colorado Ballet seeks schools and organizations throughout Colorado and out-of-state to participate in a free remote live stream of its student matinee performance of The Nutcracker at 11 a.m. MST on December 2.

Sites eligible for the live stream include: public, charter and private schools (ECE-12th grade); colleges and universities; as well as hospitals, homeless shelters and non-profit organizations that serve children and youth.  

“Interested schools and organizations are welcome to sign up online to watch Colorado Ballet’s live presentation of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker,” said Samantha Hyde, Colorado Ballet Director of Education.  “The in-person student matinee performance of The Nutcracker student matinee is by invitation only, so students, teachers, and patients who might otherwise be unable to see live ballet performances will have the opportunity to watch Colorado Ballet live on December 2.  The performance includes full sets, costumes and a live orchestra.  Plus, we offer study guides with suggested activities and discussion questions, so the live stream is an excellent opportunities to study one of the most beloved ballets of all time.  This is also our last live stream matinee during the 2016-2017 season.”

This is the second season that Colorado Ballet has offered live streaming of its student matinee series.  Colorado Ballet offered a free live stream of Swan Lake on October 6, which reached approximately 3,450 participants in 26 states and 6 countries including Mexico, Jamaica, Barbados, England, France and Japan.  During the 2015-2016 season, Colorado Ballet reached approximately 7,700 participants in 14 Colorado counties, 30 states and 6 countries including Ecuador, Ireland, England, Greece, Italy, and Canada through the live stream of the student matinees.

“We have received amazing feedback from schools and organizations who participated in the first season of live streaming the student matinee series,” said Hyde.  “Not only did we hear back that the video and audio quality of the live stream was excellent, but some participants commented that they felt like they had front row seats.  Teachers told us that we were changing lives and helping children to love and appreciate the arts.  It was so rewarding for us to hear that children of all ages were mesmerized by the performances and we inspired children to dance and twirl after watching the shows.  We heard that we provided something that could be understood in any language and we cannot wait to offer the free live streaming opportunities again this season.”

Interested schools and organizations should visit http://coloradoballet.org/education/live-stream and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.  For more information, contact Samantha Hyde at samantha.hyde@coloradoballet.org.

About The Nutcracker

Colorado Ballet’s 56th annual production of The Nutcracker will feature more than 300 costumes, 31 Company dancers, 25 Studio Company dancers, 76 Academy dancers, and timeless choreography paired with Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.  The Nutcracker features lavish costumes, exuberant dancing, whimsical battles, hypnotizing snow flurries, sumptuous sets, and a little bit of magic. The total run time with one intermission is 2 hours and 5 minutes.

The intermission for The Nutcracker will feature live interviews with artistic staff and dancers for organizations participating in the live stream.

 

Students participating in 2015 live stream of  "The Nutcracker"

Colorado Ballet presents 56th annual production of The Nutcracker

Monday, October 24, 2016

Colorado Ballet will present 26 performances of The Nutcracker, November 26 through December 24, 2016 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, with live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

“Colorado Ballet’s 56th annual production of the captivating holiday classic, The Nutcracker is a larger-than-life extravaganza,” said Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs.  “This timeless ballet features lavish costumes, exuberant dancing, whimsical battles, hypnotizing snow flurries, delicious sets and majestic live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.”

According to Boggs, the popularity of The Nutcracker continues to grow each season.  In 2015, 25 of the 26 performances of Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker were sold out and the season before, 22 of the 24 performances were sold out.

The Nutcracker continues to grow every year, especially when you consider that only three performances out of the last 50 have not been completely sold out and the ones that were not sold out were very full,” said Boggs.  “I encourage patrons to buy their tickets early for the largest production of this holiday favorite in Colorado.  I guarantee that audiences will not see anything like Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker in the region; our tremendously talented dancers performing with our extraordinary orchestra musicians during the holiday season is truly magical.”

Ticket prices range from $30 to $155. To purchase tickets, visit www.ColoradoBallet.org or call 303-837-8888 ext. 2.  The Nutcracker is made possible by presenting sponsor KeyBank.

Performance schedule for The Nutcracker:
Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 9, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, December 23, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Friday, December 23, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 1 p.m.

 

Morgan Buchanan by Allen Birnbach

Swan Lake reviews

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Swan Lake is a hit with the critics! Check out a few of the reviews from some of the critics who saw Swan Lake last weekend:

Maria Mosina, Alexei Tyukov and Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

RMPBS Arts District Happening Now! Swan Lake preview

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Check out this preview of Colorado Ballet's Swan Lake in Rocky Mountain PBS' Arts District Happening Now! segment.

Swan Lake opens tonight!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Colorado Ballet's 56th season officially opens tonight with the first performance of Swan Lake at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, with live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.  Performances run until October 23.  For more information, visit www.coloradoballet.org.

 

Enjoy these performance photos!

 

Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov by Mike Watson

 

Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Maria Mosina, Alexei Tyukov and Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Maria Mosina, Alexei Tyukov and Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov by Mike Watson

 

Maria Mosina by Mike Watson

 

Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Gregory Gonzales and Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Maria Mosina, Alexei Tyukov and Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

 

Artists of Colorado Ballet by Mike Watson

Maria Mosina retires after 21 seasons with Colorado Ballet

Monday, October 03, 2016

Principal dancer Maria Mosina will retire after 21 seasons with Colorado Ballet and 26 seasons as a professional dancer. Here is a look back at her amazing career.

Chandra Kuykendall discusses her roles of Odette-Odile in Swan Lake

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Chandra Kuykendall discusses her roles of Odette-Odile in Swan Lake. This video includes rehearsal footage of Principal Dancers Chandra Kuykendall and Domenico Luciano.

Swan Lake
October 7-23, 2016
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
http://coloradoballet.org

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