To pay tribute to Colorado Ballet's visionary founders, we ask that you consider making a donation to the Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker Founders Fund. This fund will recognize the invaluable contributions of our founders and the artistic excellence of Colorado Ballet. Please help us continue to bring the beauty, power and joy of dance to Colorado that Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker imagined more than 50 years ago. Click HERE To make a donation online and indicate that it is to be directed to the Founders Fund.
During the 2010-2011 performance season, Colorado Ballet celebrated its 50th anniversary and had the privilege of honoring the vision for a professional classical ballet company that began in the hearts of Colorado Ballet founders Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker.
To showcase their talented students, the life-long friends established Colorado Concert Ballet in 1961. The Company presented its very first production of The Nutcracker at the Bonfils Theater in Denver to sell-out audiences.
“Our dream, at the time,” said Covillo, “was to have a company that was professional, so the dancers we were training didn’t have to go to other cities to find jobs.”
By 1978, Colorado Concert Ballet employed 16 men and women, and had achieved full professional status. The Board of Trustees increased the annual budget to $100,000 and refined the Company’s name. In doing so, Colorado Ballet was born. In 1987 Parker and Covillo conducted a nationwide search, at their own expense, for a new artistic director. With their choice of Martin Fredmann, they changed the course of Colorado Ballet.
“It all began in our imagination and continued to grow and become reality,” Parker recalled just weeks before her death in 2002.
In response to the lagging economy in Denver, Colorado Ballet looked to an emerging national trend among dance companies and entered into an alliance with Tampa Ballet. Through shared expenses, the alliance enabled the companies to develop an excellent artistic product with reduced financial risk. By 1990, Colorado Ballet achieved greater financial stability and community recognition, so the alliance was discontinued to better enable future growth of the Denver company. The decision reestablished Colorado Ballet as a resident company.
Colorado Ballet is now one of the leading arts organizations in the region. With a company of 30 professional dancers of national and international acclaim, 17 studio company dancers, a $6.6 million operating budget, an expansive repertoire, and two locations for the Academy of Colorado Ballet, Colorado Ballet is a highly regarded ballet company.
From the beauty of classical ballets to the debut of world premieres by internationally acclaimed choreographers, the current season brings with it a rich, challenging and diverse repertoire. The exhilarating repertoire is designed to keep the company vital, while enticing audiences to explore all aspects of dance.
Like all top dance companies, Colorado Ballet is in a continuous state of evolution, forever caught on the cusp between what it just was and what it is about to become.
In the 2006-2007 season, Gil Boggs, a former American Ballet Theatre principal, began his tenure as artistic director of Colorado Ballet. Under his leadership, the company has received some of the best critical reviews in its history, and looks forward to many more exciting and inspired seasons.
The idea that was born nearly 50 years ago in the hearts of Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker, continues to flourish as Colorado Ballet becomes one of the most ambitious choreographic showcases in the country. On Oct. 21, 2010, the Company celebrated its 50 years and paid tribute to Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker. Covillo was in attendance and was able to see so many of the people she and Parker impacted through their dedication to the art they loved.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would see the day that Colorado Ballet would achieve such artistic success – not only in its production, but in the high quality of the dancers," said Covillo. “How truly great it is!”
On Nov. 22, 2010, the Company suffered a significant loss with the passing of Lillian Covillo. Colorado Ballet would not be what it is today if not for the vision and dedication of Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker.
Please contact Lynn Dolven at 303-339-1629 or via email with questions.