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Colorado Ballet promotes two Soloists to Principals, adds six new Corps de Ballet dancers

Monday, August 04, 2014

Colorado Ballet promotes two of its Soloist dancers to Principals and adds six new Corps de Ballet dancers, for a total of 30 Company dancers.

Artistic Director Gil Boggs promoted Dana Benton and Domenico Luciano to Principals.

Benton is now in her 14th season with Colorado Ballet.  In 2001, she joined Colorado Ballet as a Corps de Ballet member and was promoted to Soloist in 2007.  Her notable roles include Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Swanilda in Coppélia, Cow Girl in Rodeo, Ave Maria Pas de Deux, Clara and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Gulnara in Le Corsaire, Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, Lucy in Dracula, Princess Florine and Diamond Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Peasant Pas in Giselle, Flower Girl and Cupid in Don Quixote, Hermia and Peaseblossom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the featured role in Amy Seiwert’s Traveling Alone.

Luciano is in his second season with Colorado Ballet.  He joined Colorado Ballet as a Soloist during the 2013-2014 season after serving as a Principal dancer with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston.  His repertoire includes many of the classical principal leads including Romeo, Paris, and Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet, Solor in La Bayadere, The Prince in The Nutcracker, Albrecht in Giselle, Onegin in Onegin, and Don Jose in Carmen, as well as several contemporary works.

Colorado Ballet’s new Corps de Ballet dancers include: Joshua Allenback, Ariel Breitman, Emily Dixon, Oliveira Fernanda, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch.

In addition to the new Corps de Ballet dancers, 20 Studio Company dancers will join the 30 professional Company dancers this season for the productions at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  Colorado Ballet's Studio Company is a pre-professional training opportunity for dancers with the potential and desire to become professional dancers.

Colorado Ballet’s preview and repertory performance of An Evening Under the Stars will take place on August 16 at the Arvada Center Outdoor Amphitheater.  The company will officially open the 2014-2015 season with A Midsummer Night’s Dream on September 26 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Dana Benton

 

Domenico Luciano

Dancers of Colorado Ballet to host Fancy Footwork

Monday, April 07, 2014

Fancy Footwork poster - photo by Francisco Estevez Photography

The dancers of Colorado Ballet will host Fancy Footwork from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 at the Colorado Ballet Studios.  The event has a suggested $10 donation at the door.

Join the dancers of Colorado Ballet for a one-night only show featuring pieces chosen by the dancers themselves. Selections will range from excerpts of the great classics to new contemporary works by choreographers within the Colorado Ballet family. Along with an awesome show, guests will have the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind items and experiences, in a silent auction, tailored by the Colorado Ballet dancers. Join us for what will surely be a great night of dancing and fun.

Click here for the event page on Facebook

Photo: Tracy Jones, Kevin Hale and Sean Omandam
By Francisco Estevez Photography

Here is a promo video created by the dancers:

Colorado Ballet's Cinderella - Waltz Rehearsal

Friday, February 14, 2014

This video features artists of Colorado Ballet rehearsing Cinderella.

Colorado Ballet Interviews Jesse Marks - One of the Cinderella Stepsisters

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This video includes an interview with Colorado Ballet Soloist Jesse Marks and features rehearsal footage of artists of Colorado Ballet.

Colorado Ballet Interviews Sharon Wehner - Cinderella

Monday, February 10, 2014

This video features an interview with Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner and rehearsal footage featuring artists of Colorado Ballet.

Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker - Interview with Dana Benton

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker - Interview with Klara Houdet

Thursday, December 05, 2013


This video includes rehearsal footage featuring artists of Colorado Ballet.

The Nutcracker - by Sharon Wehner

Friday, November 22, 2013
By Sharon Wehner, Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer 

The Nutcracker. No other ballet in the history of dance has become so synonymous with Christmas and American tradition.  It’s hard to believe that the ballet originally flopped when first premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in 1892.  In fact, it did not truly become the phenomenon it is today until re-staged by Willam Christensen and the San Francisco Ballet more than fifty years later.  Tchaikovsky’s score, originally critiqued by some as “ponderous” and “insipid” is now employed for everything from football blooper videos to automobile commercials.  I once walked out of Macy’s in defiance when the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” came on over the speakers.  It was my first time dancing the role, and I had broken out in a sweat when the music infiltrated my unsuspecting psyche while innocently shopping for Holiday gifts. 

It’s not that I don’t like the Nutcracker or its music.  On the contrary, it has become an inherent part of my life, my career--literally part of the fabric of my being.  I am not exaggerating.  To a professional ballet dancer Christmas without Nutcracker would be like Thanksgiving without turkey...we joke about its ubiquitousness, but deep down we are ever so slightly addicted to it.  I have numerous friends who have retired from dancing and they are still involved in the Nutcracker.  If not actually performing as a guest dancer, they are teaching other children how to be toy soldiers and Mother Ginger’s polichinelles, or at least attending as an audience member.  Like an old friend, the Nutcracker never really leaves a dancer’s life completely.

How did we become infected with such a virus?  Everyone has a different story.  My first experience with the Nutcracker was as a child watching Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov on PBS.  I can remember being all alone in the living room (my brothers were not so interested), entranced by the magical story unfolding before me.  The televised version of Baryshnikov’s Nutcracker was not only technically flawless from the dancing perspective, but also included close-ups of Clara’s enchanted facial expressions and Drosselmeyer’s ambiguous and mysterious side show.  In the final scene, I was truly convinced that Clara in fact had not been dreaming, but had journeyed to a magical place in another dimension--a place that I was dying to be a part of myself.  Little did I know that one day, I would indeed be a part of Nutcracker-land, over and over and over again.  

Every year, at least one person looks at me with pity and says that they don’t know how we dancers can stand performing the same thing 30 times year after year.  And in the next moment, another person will look at me with bright eyes when they learn I am a ballerina and exclaim, “Do you dance in that show...the Nutcracker...I LOVE that one!”  It’s an interesting dichotomy in which we are placed.

The truth is that most dancers don’t actually loath performing the same thing over and over again.  Most of them enjoy the opportunity to master their craft at something, to have it so in their system that they can relax enough to enjoy the experience of being on stage and connecting with an eager audience (it is rare to find any Scrooges attending the Nutcracker).  Of course, there are exceptions.  If there are particular roles or choreography that a dancer is not fond of, you can imagine the kind of torture it would be to put on a happy face in front of 2,000 people every day for the entire month of December. 

But boredom itself is not a problem for most dancers.  Ballet is a live performing art.  Even though the choreography is the same, there are an infinite number of ways to execute and find character, nuance and expression within those steps.  When I dance the Sugarplum Fairy, I feel as if I am dancing with three partners.  There is my Cavalier with me on stage, there is the conductor and orchestra in the pit, and beyond that there is the audience.  Each of these partners plays a crucial role in the art I am creating on stage, and they are different every performance.  In addition, my body is never the same body from day to day, moment to moment.  Although we may look light and effortless as we piroette and jete across the stage, in reality we may be having a serious conversation with a sore hamstring or knee in order to create that illusion.

The Nutcracker is a love-hate symbiotic relationship with all involved.  As dancers, we never get to go shopping on Black Friday, we have to check our gluttony on Thanksgiving and Christmas day (no-one wants to see a plump Plum or hung-over Prince rolling around the stage the next day), and Holiday Parties must go unattended.  Christmas shopping usually happens at midnight on the computer when we get home from the theatre.  Christmas cards get written in the physical therapy room while waiting to get an ankle adjusted between matinee and evening performances.  Often we are unable to go “home” to visit our families.  The theatre becomes our home.  The other dancers, musicians, and stage-hands become our family.  Every year Davie, our prop guy, sets up a fake Christmas tree in the Green Room of the Opera House.  Although we don’t sit around it singing Christmas carols, its presence is comforting as we fill our coffee cups in preparation for the second show of the day.  The sheer athleticism of performing six weeks straight inevitably takes a physical and emotional toll on us.  Compound this with the universal stress that comes with the Holidays, and most dancers are ready to collapse when the curtain comes down on the last performance.

That being said, there is also an intangible “specialness” that comes with being a performer during the Holidays.  If you can strip Christmas-time of its commercialism, emotional baggage and stress, there is a festive, beautiful, and generous spirit that can be tapped into.  For many, attending the Nutcracker is a way to fill that cup.  Ultimately we dancers understand our responsibility as magic-makers, and we feel honored to do so.  There is nothing more satisfying than finishing a well-executed Nutcracker performance and knowing a thousand little faces will leave the theatre smiling and wondering if Clara really did have a beautiful adventure with her Nutcracker Prince.

 

Sharon Wehner as Dewdrop in The Nutcracker, photo by Mike Watson

 

Dancer video

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Check out this video made by Colorado Ballet's dancers.

Dancer Q&A: Klara Houdet

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This is a Q&A with Colorado Ballet Corps de Ballet Dancer Klara Houdet.

  1. Where are you from?
    Réunion Island (French Island)
  2. Where did you train/dance before coming to Colorado Ballet?
    Paris Opera Ballet School
    Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
    National Ballet of Canada
    American Ballet Theatre
  3. What did you do with your summer break?
    Took ballet classes almost every day
  4. What age did you first start dancing? What do you remember from your first class?
    3 years old
    Loving how the studio smelled!
  5. What was your first ballet you remember attending? What do you remember about it?
    I can't remember the first ballet I saw, but I recall spending hours looking at ballet pictures of principals from Paris Opera.
  6. Who are your ballet role models? Dancers that inspire you.
    Many dancers inspire me, from principals to corps de ballet members. But the first name that comes to my mind is Mikhail Baryshnikov.
  7. Proudest moment in your ballet career?
    First place at an international ballet competition, but I wasn't proud, just extremely happy.
  8. Favorite choreographer(s) you’ve worked with?
    Jacopo Godani, Crystal Pite
  9. If you could get a lesson/class from anyone, it would be ________
    Taina Morales from the National Ballet of Cuba
  10. Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
    'You are the master of yourself.'
  11. Favorite ballets to dance? Which are favorite to watch?
    All
  12. Dream role?
    There are too many!
  13. If you could never dance again, what would you want your final role to be?
    Never thought of it and don't want to:-)
  14. What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
    Surfing the Internet
  15. What are some of your indulgences?
    Chocolate
  16. Do you have any pre-performance routines/rituals?
    Nap and going through the choreography, remembering the last changes, notes...
  17. What production(s) are you most excited about this year?
    I'm excited about all of them. Happy to dance again the ones I already know, and looking forward to discover the ones I don't.
  18. What would you say to people who come to see the Colorado Ballet?
    Without you, we wouldn't be able to live our dream.
Klara Houdet by Allen Birnbach

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