Summiting Creativity: Exploring Lauren Lovette’s Three Views of a Mountain

Summiting Creativity: Exploring Lauren Lovette’s Three Views of a Mountain

Colorado Ballet

It’s officially spring in Colorado, which means I’m getting the seeds started for my garden, looking forward to that first surprise sunburn, and dusting off my patio furniture (never mind, we all know it will probably snow 15 inches sometime in the next two weeks).

Of course, most residents should also know that each spring, Colorado Ballet’s 2022/2023 season concludes with Ballet MasterWorks. This year, Colorado Ballet has curated an exciting program featuring three works—George Balanchine’s Rubies, Yoshihisa Arai’s Boléro, and Three Views of a Mountain, a world premiere choreographed by former New York City Ballet Principal dancer Lauren Lovette.

I had the opportunity to visit Colorado Ballet to have a conversation with Lauren Lovette about her new work, Three Views of a Mountain. She had recently arrived from Florida, where she attended the premiere of her latest work, Echo, created for the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Lauren Lovette feels like being a choreographer is the greatest job in the world. Her creative approach is spontaneous and rooted in the present moment, eschewing lengthy periods of research or contemplation. “What I love about [choreographing] is that the work always surprises me. I feel like I’m just the conduit…there’s hardly any time between me reaching up for the ideas and them coming out of my mouth toward the dancer. So, I feel like I’m in a constant state of throwing things out there and seeing what sticks…usually, it’s whatever feels most true for the dancer. And I just sit back and watch in awe. After such a long career of perfectionism and trying to reach goals and everything feeling so linear, now my world is so imaginative. It’s the most fun job there is.”

Born and raised in California, Lovette moved to New York City to seriously pursue her ballet training at the age of 14. At the time, she felt like “just a ballerina,” who did not have the license to move in different ways, even though she had always been inspired by other dance forms. “It took quite a long time for me to try anything else, but I started playing with other dance styles thanks to the Vail Dance Festival.” Here, she had opportunities to dance for Larry Kegwin and worked with dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company. “I started choreographing around the age of 23 and fell absolutely in love with being on the other side.”

Leaving New York City Ballet in 2019 at the age of 29, Ms. Lovette was ready to take on whatever life brought. She wanted to learn new skills and figure out who she was as a person outside of the context of being a ballerina. Without a job lined up, Lauren figured she would probably work at Home Depot or Lowe’s, but she ended up getting a “dream job” as the resident choreographer at the Paul Taylor Dance Company. From there, opportunities to choreograph bloomed, including the creation of her new work with Colorado Ballet.

Lovette’s work Three Views of a Mountain is choreographed to accompany the concerto of the same title for violin and double bass, composed by Kip Jones. “It’s got drive, it’s got energy, it doesn’t leave you sitting too long anywhere…it’s very exciting,” Lauren raves about the concerto but also addresses the challenges of using such a complex piece of music. She praises the Colorado Ballet dancers for “leaning in ear first into the music,” and notes that the process of dissecting the musical cues and setting the work has brought her and the dancers closer together.

In the music, Ms. Lovette sees a mountain. “The first movement feels like a climb, it feels like pressure and ambition.” She elaborates on the feeling,“When you see something before you that feels insurmountable, but you know it’s your charge to do it.”

In the second movement, the ambiance shifts to a quieter, more subtle tone. Lauren explains, “You know when you’ve reached a certain height, and you look out and you feel small, but it doesn’t make you feel worthless? You feel a sense of belonging in the unraveling of the ego … .when you’re there with someone you love and trust, there’s a settling down and out. There’s a desire for me to feel the subtlety of the movement. It’s very quiet, it’s very still, and there’s a whole lot of trust.”

Lauren equates the energy of the third movement to the tumbling, slap-happy, silly feeling one gets when going downhill. “You feel a little bit superhuman, and momentum starts to build.”

The piece was originally intended for a cast of six dancers or fewer but expanded to include many more. Facing the daunting task of selecting dancers, Lauren found herself torn, feeling that each individual was essential to the work’s essence. In response to this dilemma, she sought guidance from CB Director Gil Boggs to determine the maximum allowable number of dancers for the production. The answer? 19 dancers!

Ms. Lovette feels that the company is so strong and so supportive of one another. “The environment [at Colorado Ballet] is really unlike any other ballet company I’ve ever been at…there’s really a sense of community and camaraderie.”

Lauren Lovette wants Colorado Ballet audiences to come away from Three Views of a Mountain feeling uplifted and optimistic.

“If I’m going to present [a piece] to an audience and it’s going to be about something that’s more difficult to digest, I’m not going to leave people lost in that space. I don’t know if I can.” She continues, “In everything I do, there has to be something at the end of it. I guess it’s joy.”

Lauren elaborates on the humanity of dance as an art form, “We are human beings, we are providing a language [with our bodies]. Gesture is how we communicate…you’re dealing with real human bodies… It’s so moving and it can leave a lasting impact on an audience. I want that impact to bring a sense of peace, joy, or hope because life is hard enough.

Be sure to see the premiere of Lauren Lovette’s new work Three Views of a Mountain, along with George Balanchine’s Rubies and Yoshihisa Arai’s Boléro in Colorado Ballet presents Masterworks

Colorado Ballet presents MasterWorks
April 12–21, 2024 | Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Tickets start at $40 at

Breegan Kearney

Breegan Kearney is a Denver, CO-based dance artist, educator, and choreographer. Hailing from Kalamazoo, MI, she began training in the Royal Academy of Dance system at the age of seven with tutelage from Arlene Larson. Later, she trained with Regina and Ricardo Moyano at DanceWest Ballet in Naperville, IL. She went on to receive a dance scholarship to the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. Breegan attended the State University of New York at Purchase College, where she had the privilege of dancing under Megan Williams, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Kevin Wynn, Stephanie Tooman, Neil Greenberg, Sue Bernhard, Richard Cook, and Bettijane Sills, among others. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2010 with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and moved to New York City. While living there, Breegan was lucky to dance with Pam Tanowitz, Nelly van Bommel, Nicole Wolcott, Annie Rigney, Kat Rhodes, and Caitlin Dutton. Breegan relocated to Denver in 2015 to begin teaching dance at Rocky Mountain Prep, where she taught for 5 years. She earned her M.A. in Dance Education as well as her Colorado K-12 Dance teaching license from the University of Northern Colorado in 2020. In 2021, Breegan joined the Hannah Kahn Dance Company in Denver. In 2022, she joined the T2 Dance Company in Boulder Colorado. She is currently a faculty member at Rocky Mountain Ballet Academy (Denver), and Colorado Conservatory of Dance (Broomfield). Breegan launched her creative choreographic project, “the breegan dance show :)” in 2019 and has presented several works in the Denver/Boulder area.