The performance of Tour de Force was a powerful, artistic showcase of three prominent Denver dance companies: Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Wonderbound. The intense, technical choreography highlighted what looked to be a seamless collaboration between the three companies. Each work presented had its own character, but through all the dancers athleticism, artistry, and dynamic training was celebrated.
Elements within each work spoke to that company’s tradition and signature elements. The MOVE/ment, choreographed by Cleo Parker Robinson, was performed to jazz and soul music with spoken word to enhance the story being told and drive the dancing, a familiar component of CPRD work. Traveling Alone, produced by the Colorado Ballet, choreographed by Amy Seiwert, held true to the Colorado Ballet’s superb technical training and precision of movement. Garrett Ammon, Artistic Director of Wonderbound, held to the company’s pizzazz, storytelling, and cheeky movements in his piece Creature of Prometheus. The choreographic elements held true to the specific companies’ essence and welcomed other dancers to that notable experience.
The MOVE/ment was a compelling piece on social justice and how movement forward for one is movement forward for all. The mass of dancers wore red and black to exemplify their power as artists, and as individuals. They moved amongst the stage as though an army of activists working toward the same goal.
Traveling Alone was a technically inspiring piece. As the dancers connected with one another, both in staging and masterful partnering work, the audience watched in awe to catch the intricacy of the movement and feel the earnestness of the dancer in red.
Creature of Prometheus made the audience feel as though they scooted their seats a little closer to be apart of the story as the dancers moved about in yellow costumes. You can leave it to Garrett Ammon to add playful, imaginative elements to Beethoven’s music.
It was empowering and exciting to see the variety within the the cast of dancers from gender, to color of skin, to places of origin, and even their dance training together on one stage. Members of each company partnered one another, shouted from stage in energy of unison, and shared each piece’s narrative as though they have been working together for years. This highlights the maturity and comradery of the dancers, as well as the involving choreographic elements within the works.
This evening’s performance joined forces of different choreographers with their own narrative to share and an impressive collection of dancers/athletes/artists to use dance as a platform to unite and appreciate differences.
Sutton Anker currently lives in her hometown of Littleton, Colorado. Her love of dance took root at a young age when she began dancing at a local studio. This passion grew and carried through into college and beyond. Sutton earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance Science from the University of Wyoming, followed by a Master’s of Science in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Her technical training is in ballet, release technique, Horton, modern, tap, jazz, vertical dance, hip-hop, pointe, and functional fitness. Throughout her B.F.A. at UW, Sutton performed in various productions including From the Ashes: A Cinderella Ballet, Duet and Power/Full (a Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company production), The Nutcracker, Boxed Set, and Six Songs from Ellis.
Sutton has a keen interest in motor learning, motor development, and pedagogical techniques, taking several kinesiology classes in her undergraduate and graduate programs. Sutton has presented at several dance science conferences, including the 2010 Performing Arts Medical Association Conference (Specific Stretching for Individual Needs), the 2013 International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conference (Effect of Mirrors on Dancers’ Ability to Learn Movement), and the 2016 International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conference in Hong Kong (Master’s thesis – An Investigation of the Pedagogical Rationales for Current Mirror Use in a Ballet Technique Class).
Sutton currently works at Foothills Park and Recreation District in Children’s Programs. She has a passion for empowering kids’ creativity and educating youth on physical and mental health. Sutton continues to engage in dance by teaching at local studios, participating in classes and workshops, volunteering with Presenting Denver, and pursuing her research interests.