Different is Good

Different is Good
February 27, 2017 Jane E. Werle
Photo by Eli Akerstein. Image courtesy of Boulder Ballet.

Photo by Eli Akerstein. Image courtesy of Boulder Ballet.

The Boulder Ballet performs three contemporary world premieres at the Dairy Arts Center February 17, 18 and 19, 2017. The first installment, “Classical” Ballet, was choreographed by Artistic Director Ana Claire and her son Alex Davison. It is largely playful and tongue-in-cheek, with some standout couples work. The second, Interactive V1.0, is a highly successful collaboration of original experimental music, stimulating choreography, and company dancer input and improvisation. Michael Shulze is the composer, and Amy Earnest and dancer/Associate Artistic Director Lance Hardin are the choreographers. Light Fandango is a high-energy, fast-paced romp created by guest choreographer Robert North.

The dancers of Boulder Ballet’s professional company (the organization also supports a well-regarded school) are special. While they do constitute a cohesive whole, as they must, this reviewer is best pleased by the strong and subtle individual strengths displayed. The best example of this is seen in Interactive. Solid technique as well as passionate artistry really shine throughout this piece. Perhaps most importantly, however, the dancers seem completely attuned to one another as well as in full control of themselves. It is a pleasure to experience. Shulze’s intensive and intriguing composition process– he describes it briefly before the piece– really pays off, and works wonderfully with the company’s open-minded vibe.

This pushing of boundaries is a good thing. Movement and art are powerful forces, and responsible, effective use of that power includes challenging established ideas and expectations. Boulder Ballet’s apparent willingness to expand its purview by taking chances on unconventional elements such as electronic music, choreography that directly references traditions such as Irish dance and vaudeville, and non-standard ballerina bodies bodes well for a vibrant future. See one of two presentations of the Mother’s Day Ballet: Two Witches and a Prince on May 14th at the historic Boulder Theater, and take advantage of free Ballet in the Park performances on June 17th in Civic Green Park in Denver and June 18th at the bandshell in Boulder’s Central Park.


Jane E. Werle: At three months of age Jane E. Werle, unable to protest, was removed from Loveland, Colorado by her well-meaning parents.  In 2004 she was able to rectify this error when she relocated from Massachusetts to Boulder for graduate school.  One M.F.A. and a husband later, Jane works to further the arts in the Front Range as a writer (reviewer, interviewer, curator) and enthusiast (no-shame, first-on-the-floor amateur– despite some training– dancer).  Jane is also a longtime nanny and a visual artist, taking one of these very seriously and the other as a growth experience.  Every child she’s cared for has experienced some form of the SDP:  Spontaneous Dance Party.

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