Boulder Ballet | MINDFIELD

Boulder Ballet | MINDFIELD

The Boulder Ballet’s performance of “MINDFIELD” at the Dairy Arts Theater from March 8-10 delves deep into the intricate relationship between the mind and body, offering a poignant exploration of mental health, emotion, and resilience. From the moment audiences enter the theater, they are enveloped in an intimate and immersive experience, setting the stage for a captivating journey through the sophistication of the human psyche.

As the audience takes their seats, dancers are already on stage, engaged in a blend of warming up, improvisation, and interaction, set to ambient music. This unconventional approach immediately breaks down the barrier between performer and spectator, creating a feeling of shared vulnerability and understanding. The edge of the stage, positioned only a few feet from the front row, fosters a heightened sense of intimacy, blurring the lines between dancers and audience members.

The first act unfolds with an impactful narrative, seamlessly weaving together spoken word and movement to articulate the personal struggles of individuals grappling with mental illness. Each dancer brings gorgeous technique and depth to their performance, conveying the universal experience of pain, anguish, and loss. From intimate solos to collective ensembles, the choreography traverses a spectrum of emotions, from gentle introspection to frenetic chaos.

Photo: Amanda Tipton
Dancers: Kelly Dornan, Morgan Rust, Emma Michaux

The accompanying music serves as a powerful backdrop, shifting seamlessly from melancholic orchestral pieces to angsty synthesizers, mirroring the ebb and flow of the dancers’ inner turmoil. Moments of tranquility are juxtaposed with bursts of intensity, creating a visceral experience that resonates with audiences on a profound level.

Throughout the performance, themes of connection and compassion emerge, underscoring the shared humanity that unites us all. Dancers move with a collective understanding, embodying the interconnectedness of human experience. Beautiful duets depict the struggle to support and be supported, while ensemble pieces convey solidarity in the face of adversity.

The second act unfolds with a playful energy, marked by quirky movements and interactions. Strobe lights and whimsical music set the stage for a series of dynamic performances, as dancers playfully engage with large rectangular mirrors, exploring the subjects of identity and perception. Despite the lighter tone, underlying currents of contemplation and fragility remain palpable, reminding audiences of the complexity of the human experience.

As the performance draws to a close, dancers come together in a moving display of unity and resilience. Caught in a web of support, they navigate the intricacies of mental health with grace and determination. The stripped-down costumes symbolize a sense of vulnerability and self-acceptance, inviting audiences to reflect on their own journey towards healing and growth.

In the Artistic Director’s reflection on the production, Ben Needhan-Wood speaks to the transformative power of collaboration and exploration. Drawing on years of research and collaboration, “MINDFIELD” emerges as a testament to the profound connection between body and spirit, offering audiences a rare opportunity to engage with the complexities of mental health through the universal language of dance.

Photo: Amanda Tipton
Dancers: Cathrine Lasak and Phillip Perez

In closing, “MINDFIELD” stands as a testament to the transformative power of art, offering a profound exploration of the human experience through the lens of dance. With its immersive staging, compelling choreography, and evocative storytelling, the Boulder Ballet’s performance captivates audiences and invites them on a journey of self-discovery and introspection.

For more information on Boulder Ballet HERE


A native of Kansas City, Katie Jenkins began her training at Graves Talent Company. She received scholarships to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, as well as the Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, and graduated on scholarship with a BFA in Dance from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. Her professional career began over 20 years ago with the Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company while still attending college. Over the years, she has personally worked with world renowned choreographers such as Donald McKayle, David Parsons, Milton Myers, Dwight Rhoden, Robert Moses, Kevin Iega Jeff, among others. Katie has been a member of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, City Dance Ensemble in Washington DC, TILT Contemporary Dance Company in Maui, HI, Malashock Dance Company in San Diego, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and Davis Dance. Currently, Katie is the Artistic Director of DDNG, aka “Next Gen,” the pre-professional training company within the Davis Dance organization, and continues to freelance and teach dance throughout the area.