THERE’S BLOOD AND EVERYTHING
Hired straight from a video audition, Dana Benton has been a Colorado Ballet staple for 14 seasons. Originally from Canada, Dana decided at the age of 8, ballet was her life’s passion. At age 9, she was accepted to the National Ballet School in Toronto and trained for eight years. Talk about dedication!
Considered an atypical ballerina due to her short stature; Dana’s stage presence is so grand, she is impossible to miss. It is clear this sentiment is held by many as Dana was recently promoted to Principal dancer.
New to this principal role and recovering from a recent foot injury, Dana said her goal is to practice and be the best Principal she can be, as she is still the “underdog” within the 4 male/4 female Principal group. To stay fresh and always improving, Dana says she watches videos of herself performing a role and then works to reinvent and perfect the performance each time thereafter.
Colorado Ballet Company has 30 dancers within its Corps de Ballet, each on a 34 week contract. Once you reach 10 seasons with the company, they give you a year grace period should your contract not be renewed. Having this notice is huge. Having danced for the Alberta Ballet Company in Canada and then having been let go, Dana knows what uncertainty looks like and how reaching out to one’s network of mentors and peers can build the confidence needed to audition and reach for new opportunities. This is what led to her sending in the video audition for the Colorado Ballet Company.
For anyone living the company life, all encompassing is the way to describe it. But the stage isn’t the only place you will see Dana. In addition to the 9:30a-6p, Tuesday-Saturday rehearsals, Dana also teaches for the Academy of Colorado Ballet. She focuses her passion on grooming her students to success. As if that isn’t enough to fill her days, Dana also sits on the Host Committee for the Developmental Pathways annual Client Achievement Awards. Developmental Pathways is a Colorado non-profit agency that serves persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Dana also makes handbags on the side to keep her creativity flowing.
So where can you go see Dana? The next performance she will be in was self-described as PG 13 ballet. PG13 ballet? Sounds like something to go and see. Dracula will “have blood and everything.” With HBO’s having ended, your vampire fix will need to be fulfilled with the upcoming performance. Dracula, Mina Harker and Lucy all ruffled and enpointe on both foot and fang sounds like a Halloween weekend thriller.
W. Celeste Davis Stragand: Published author, showcased artist and local Denverite, W. Celeste Davis Stragand is not new to the art world. Her passion for delving into the root of existence and movement will challenge and praise both choreographers and the audience. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Celeste holds two bachelor of arts degrees, one in Chemistry and the other in English. She is also a graduate of Naropa University holding a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. A former national slam team poet, Celeste is a graduate of the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program and sits on the American Institute of Architects Colorado board. Her passion and enthusiasm for the kinetic arts will frolic and frenzy through the upcoming season of performances with many hopes for an encore!