The Colorado Ballet presents the good, the bad, and the magnificent in “BALLET DIRECTOR’S CHOICE”!

The Colorado Ballet presents the good, the bad, and the magnificent in “BALLET DIRECTOR’S CHOICE”!

The Colorado Ballet closes its 2013-2014 season with Ballet Director’s Choice. This production will feature three contemporary works including Feast of the Gods, choreographed by Edwaard Liang, Traveling Alone, choreographed by Amy Seiwert, and the world premiere of The Last Beat, choreographed by Sandra Brown.

Artists of Colorado Ballet in Feast of the Gods - by Sue Daniels Photography. -
Artists of Colorado Ballet in Feast of the Gods. Photo by Sue Daniels Photography. Image courtesy of Colorado Ballet.

I really hate to say this but this first act was a bit sloppy and the ensemble never did find the perfect unison that I know that they are capable of. This gave the entire piece an offbeat and fractured harmony. The redeeming factor was the engaging duets by Sharon Wehner and Dmitry Trubchanov that left me wanting more of them and less of the ensemble. Also adding to the dysfunction was the lack of story and the choreography by Edwaard Liang was a bit confusing. The music by Ottorino Respighi was airy and aimless, the costumes were forgettable and the dance themes were all over the place. Had there been more of the delicious Spanish influence that was featured in the duets, it would have made for a much more enticing piece.

Dana Benton in Traveling Alone - by Sue Daniels Photography.
Dana Benton in Traveling Alone. Photo by Sue Daniels Photography. Image courtesy of Colorado Ballet.

The second piece improved by leaps and bounds in energy, movement and craft, and I could not take my eyes off of this amazing performance. This haunting dance reminded me of broken mannequins and the rebel that tries to stand alone while still being tortured with who she was. It reminded me of The Twilight Zone episode “The After Hours” where the department store mannequins get to come alive on the outside for a week and one unfortunate girl gets lost trying to return. The costumes by designer Christine Darch were fabulous and I loved the white body suits that represented the uniformity of the ensemble and that fierce red outfit that truly stood out in color and attitude. Under the direction of Amy Seiwert, I loved all the broken lines, great shapes, fascinating constrictions that flowed from the dancers and yearned to see more of this creative piece. The music reinforced this broken movement with haunting beats and melodies and intriguing, industrial noises. Leading the helm as the independent woman was Dana Benton, who developed such an interesting character that kept me transfixed from beginning to end and I loved her conflict through movement as the woman breaking free, while still being pulled back into the fold. This creative cooperation of music, dance, costume and theme made this piece my personal favorite and a standout of the evening!

Artist of Colorado Ballet in The Last Beat - by Sue Daniels Photography.
Artist of Colorado Ballet in The Last Beat. Photo by Sue Daniels Photography. Image courtesy of Colorado Ballet.

The final piece was bright and full of life and energy and neither I nor the audience could get enough. This third act reminded me of soldiers returning from the war and the joyous embrace and celebration that ensues. The costumes by Shirin Lankarani further emphasized this storyline with the men in fatigues and the women in vibrant and colorful, flowing dresses. The music by the talented musicians of the hit group DeVotchKa was upbeat and left a lasting impression on everyone and the beautiful cohesion of music and dance by talented choreographer Sandra Brown was gloriously harmonious. As I witnessed this amazing work, I had a vision of a performing arts night at Red Rocks where DeVotchKa and the Colorado Symphony would play, the Colorado Ballet would present this wonderful piece and maybe add in a couple members of the Denver Center Company to do staged reading before each movement. This exuberant dance left me excited and refreshed and still in awe of the stunning talents that make up the company of the Colorado Ballet!

For more information on Colorado Ballet, their 2014-2015 season and their new studio, check them out online at


Michael Mulhern: Michael Mulhern has been active in performing arts in Colorado for over 10 years now. Whether it be singing, acting, or dancing, Michael strives to contribute to the community with his passion for the arts. He hails from Wiesbaden, Germany where he was classically trained in ballet and jazz. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a BFA in Theater Performance where he furthered his dance studies in tap, ballroom, and modern; and served as a choreographer for several musical productions. Currently he is an arts critic for numerous publications in Denver and a major theatrical website, as well as a fine dining server at the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa. Michael is proud to bring his insight and love of dance to Presenting Denver!