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Semple Brown Design brings Colorado Ballet's vision for the state's dance culture to life

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Colorado Ballet's new facility, designed by Semple Brown Design, brings artistic director Gil Boggs' vision to reality while elevating dance as an art form in Colorado and beyond

 

Colorado Ballet and Semple Brown Design, the most recognized performing arts design firm in Colorado, today announced the completion of Colorado Ballet's long awaited move into their new home at 1075 Santa Fe Street (north end of Denver's Art District on Santa Fe.) This move from the Ballet's former home of 20 years to their expansive new facility, brings Artistic Director Gil Boggs' inspiring vision for the largest resident dance company in the state to life. The new space will establish a center for dance where the Ballet will raise the profile of their unique art form in the state overall. 

  

"When I think about my original vision for our new space, and what we are now surrounded by, I'm thrilled to say that this is exactly what I envisioned for Colorado Ballet," said Boggs. "We all feel a strong responsibility to further the art form, and this new space will help us truly accomplish that. Throughout my career, I've noticed that whenever a professional Company owned their own building, they flourished—not only locally, but nationally as well. We want Colorado Ballet to be in the national spotlight and our new building will finally allow us to fulfill that dream. At the core, though, the needs of the dancers, artistic staff and Academy were the driving force behind the design and amenities of this space. Thanks to our Board of Trustees, donors, patrons, Semple Brown Design and CMC Group we have a beautiful, functional new home that will allow us to enter an exciting new phase in our history." 

 

In the fall of 2012, when Boggs turned to architect Rusty Brown, Semple Brown Design's cofounder, and Chris Wineman, the firm's performing arts specialist, to convert a former warehouse into a modern studio for Colorado's premier ballet company, he asked for more than the six studios he had available at their leased space on Lincoln and 13th and a minimum of two studios with floor space that would span the depth and breadth of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House stage so Company dancers could transfer their ballets from rehearsal to stage without adaptation or adjustment. Today, their new space is comprised of eight studios—two the size of the Ellie stage—as well as improved amenities for the Company, including separate locker rooms and showers, a physical therapy and massage room to encourage wellness and prevent injuries, a shared staff and dancer lounge to foster greater interaction between them, as well as safer student drop-off and increased parking in the neighborhood for Academy families. A black box performance space was also on Boggs’ wish list; one that could be used as a studio, yet be converted to a community performance space for more intimate experiences. The new Black Box Theater will enable Colorado Ballet to add in-house productions to their repertoire, foster up-and-coming choreographers—both within the Company and outside, and allow choreographers to practice their craft and present their works to supportive audiences. 

  

Additionally, the increase in the number of Academy studios, their prominent location and visibility also demonstrate how education continues to be a priority for Boggs. "It is the future," he notes. Up to seven dedicated studios will increase and diversify the Academy’s programming. Academy students will have opportunities to perform in the Black Box Theater for First Fridays and other occasions. A new Pre-professional Program will also be launched this fall where high school students will travel to Denver to train with an academic component included. Company rehearsals and Academy classes have commenced for the fall season. 

   

Ultimately, Colorado Ballet's new location represents a literal physical move, as well as a philosophical shift to a new place—a place that's more deeply embedded in its community, and more accessible to all. Semple Brown designed the building with an abundance of glass and open views to allow the Ballet to reach outward into the neighborhood rather than keep its art and activities within. Brown and Wineman also embraced their client's awareness of changing demographics, and how many cultural institutions are intrinsically tied to the community today. To this end, the new building is located outside of the downtown core in a highly diverse arts and cultural district reflecting the role Colorado Ballet will play as the organization moves into the future and becomes increasingly accessible to younger and more diverse audiences. The building's approachable scale also allows the organization to better support their mission to educate the next generation of students through their Academy programs and outreach. And finally, the building helps infuse greater morale within the Company through the establishment of an elegant new home and sense of the Ballet's intrinsic value while emphasizing Colorado Ballet's important contribution to the state and beyond. In Wineman's words, "A 'First Class' space means something—it supports a more substantial vision of what the future can be."

Colorado Ballet Academy Pre-professional Program starts tomorrow

Monday, September 01, 2014

Colorado Ballet Academy will start its Pre-professional Trainee Program tomorrow.  Students must be in high school to be invited to join the pre-professional trainee program and must meet the minimum standards regarding pointe work (for girls) and the physicality generally considered necessary for professional success in classical ballet.  Several of our pre-professional students this fall will participate in online academic programs to allow for more concentration on their ballet training.

  

When not in a concentrated academic environment students, will attend two daily ballet technique classes, augmented with pointe, pirouette and allegro, pas de deux, modern, character, pilates, variations and choreography classes taught by Colorado Ballet Academy faculty members as well as occasional guest artists. Pre-professional trainees may be invited to perform with the Colorado Ballet Company when repertory permits. They may also perform in outreach programs at schools, community centers, and special events, as well as their own full evening performances. Our year-long program culminates in the entire schools Spring Showcase performance in mid-May. At the end of each year, pre-professional students are given first priority for openings in the Colorado Ballet Studio Company as well as admittance to the following year's program.

   

Our all inclusive training program provides a necessary base to ease the transition from student to professional dancer in a focused nurturing environment. Housing and billeting options are available on request.

 

Click here for more information.

Pre-professional
Pre-professional students by Francisco Estevez Photography

Colorado Ballet completes move into new building in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Colorado Ballet announced today that it has completed the move into its new building at 1075 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204.  Construction on the 30,000 square foot building at the north end of Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe was completed earlier this month.

  

In January 2013, Colorado Ballet purchased the building on Santa Fe Drive, which had been partially occupied by a sewing machine distributor and parts warehouse. In preparation for a move from the organization's home of 20 years at 13th and Lincoln—a space owned by the Colorado State Land Board—a capital campaign was initiated and major renovations ensued.  

  

Colorado Ballet's new $6.5 million facility ($1.265 million for building and land, $5.235 million for demolition, renovation and finishes) will host rehearsal and training studios as well administrative offices, while performances will continue to take place primarily in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and Newman Center for the Performing Arts.

 

“The new building will encourage world-class dance to flourish in Colorado and enhance the training of the next generation of dancers,” said Colorado Ballet's Artistic Director Gil Boggs.  “Our new facility will also grow our outreach efforts, bringing dance to thousands of school-kids and people with disabilities. We will also host small performances and events in our new theater, exposing more people to the magic of dance in this thriving arts neighborhood.”

  

The new facility, designed by Denver-based Semple Brown Design, features seven state-of-the-art dance studios for Colorado Ballet’s professional Company and the Colorado Ballet Academy. In addition, a multi-use black box theater will function as both a dance studio and performance space equipped with theatrical lighting, sound and telescoping seats for presenting smaller performances and hosting outside groups and their events. Improved amenities for the Company include locker rooms, showers and a physical therapy room as well as safer student drop-off and increased parking in the neighborhood for Academy families. Denver-based CMC Group, Inc. was the contractor.

  

“The search for a new space for the Colorado Ballet has been our priority for nearly a decade, thus the long awaited opportunity to turn a quiet structure on Santa Fe Drive into a theatrical showcase for the dancers and organization has truly been an honor,” said Rusty Brown, AIA, cofounder and president of Semple Brown Design. “In partnership with Artistic Director Gil Boggs and their board of directors, we’re thrilled to unveil this stunning new space designed to inspire the dancers, elevate learning, and provide one of our state’s artistic treasures a permanent home—all while establishing a new anchor for our city’s booming Santa Fe Arts District.”  

  

“This is the first time in our nearly 54-year history that we will own our building and that is very exciting for everyone involved with Colorado Ballet,” said Boggs. “We have so much to celebrate in our organization; not just the new building, but also last season’s record-breaking attendance and performance revenue and our upcoming season of performances.”

Academy offers new open classes for adults and children

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Colorado Ballet Academy offers many different Open Classes for students who wish to have a more flexible and less intensive training experience.  This fall, the Academy will feature a few new classes in the open program including Yoga for All, Beginning Tango, and Baby Wearing Ballet.  Classes start August 25, 2014 at Colorado Ballet's new state-of-the-art studios at 1075 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204.  It is not too late to sign up for these classes, drop-in or purchase a punch card.

Baby Wearing Ballet is a movement/ballet based class uniquely designed to promote fitness while engaging mothers with their babies.  During the class moms will wear their babies in a front or back carrier or sling, recreating the baby's in-utero experience of perpetual motion while also being stimulated by music especially selected to appeal to infants.  The class will be comprised of a few, Pilates based, core strengthening exercises, followed by a simple yet challenging ballet barre that will focus on proper alignment and overall body conditioning.  Class will culminate with some movements done in the center without the barre that will get mom and baby waltzing and twirling like real ballerinas!  The class is from 12-1 p.m. on Tuesdays or 5-6 p.m. on Thursdays.

*Not available for drop-ins, only punch cards and full registrations.

Baby Wearing Ballet

Yoga for All is for adults and students in Level 4 and up incorporates breath in movement, stretching and strengthening as well as core awareness through yoga poses and flow postures. Class will help students build strength, flexibility and endurance. Beginner to advanced are welcome!  Taught by Mieke Scripps Doctor of Physical Therapy, Dance Medicine Specialist, and Yoga instructor, the class is from 5-6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Beginning Tango is taught by Colorado Ballet's Ballet Mistress Lorita Travaglia.  Come learn the passionate and romantic tango!  The class is from 6-7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Open class fees: 

  • Drop in per class - $15
  • 4 class punch card - $57
  • 10 class punch card - $125
  • 2014-2015 Year-1 class - $350
  • 2014-2015 Year-2 classes - $675

Click here to check out these and other great open classes!

Academy Midsummer audition location and 2014-2015 class location

Friday, August 22, 2014

Colorado Ballet is in the process of moving to its new home in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, so here are a couple of alerts about audition and class locations.

 

Saturday Academy audition for A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Colorado Ballet Academy audition for A Midsummer Night's Dream will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday, August 23 at Colorado Ballet's Lincoln Street location - 1278 Lincoln Street, Denver, CO 80203.  Please note that we will be moving to our new location on Saturday and due to the move, phones and e-mail have been shut down (as of noon on August 21), so we will not be able to check messages until Monday, August 25.

  

The audition will take place upstairs in Studio A.  The audition is for students heights 4’2-5’.  All participants must be at least 8 years old and participate in our ballet program, which includes levels 1-7.  Students are expected to attend ALL rehearsals, which will generally be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays through opening night.  Performance dates are September 26, 27, 28, and October 3, 4, 5.  To audition, you must be a registered student for Colorado Ballet Academy's 2014-2015 session.  The audition fee is $25 and participation cost is $75.

Click here to download the audition application.

 

2014-2015 Academy Classes will start on Monday at new location!

Classes for Colorado Ballet Academy's 2014-2015 session will start on Monday, August 25, 2014 at Colorado Ballet's new home - 1075 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204.  Come take class in our new state-of-the-art Academy studios!  Please note that the main entrance to Colorado Ballet's new home is through the parking lot on the 11th Street side of the building.

 

Ballet Program: The Academy provides training to students ages 3 through adult, beginner through professional, utilizing the most current schools of ballet training. We incorporate traditional ballet pedagogy into our ballet curriculum and secure teachers with extensive experience. In addition to ballet we offer modern, jazz, pilates, yoga and boys only classes, in order to train well educated and healthy dancers. Our students are versatile and company ready when they graduate.

Click here for information about the Ballet Program.

 

Open Program: We offer many different Open Classes for students who wish to have a more flexible and less intensive training experience.  New classes in the open program include Yoga for All, Beginning Tango, and Baby Wearing Ballet.

Click here for information about the Open Program.

 

Parking information at Colorado Ballet's new home

At Colorado Ballet’s new home, similar to our current situation, all parking spots in the adjacent lot are reserved and assigned to specific dancers and staff.  Dancers and staff may leave and come back throughout the day, so please do not take a spot just because it appears to be free.  The new location offers much safer Academy student drop off and pick up.  Academy families are welcome to circle the lot while picking up their children as long as they do not block the lot.

 

Our new location offers an abundance of free parking throughout the neighborhood.  Santa Fe Drive has free 2 hour parking.  North of 11th Avenue, parking is free for 1 hour.  Kalamath Street south of 11th Avenue offers free parking all day.  Surrounding residential neighborhoods also offer free parking all day.  Please watch for signs around street sweeping days and other parking restrictions.

Colorado Ballet presents Shakespearian classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Colorado Ballet opens its 54th season with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, September 26-October 5, 2014 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  The production features choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and a score by Felix Mendelssohn, performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra and the Colorado Children’s Chorale.

“Join us for an enchanting presentation of Shakespeare’s classic, filled with mischief, romance and comedy,” said Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet Artistic Director.  “Between the festive costumes, majestic scenery, meddlesome fairies and the crisscrossed young lovers, this ballet is pure magic.  Adults and children will love this production.”

Wheeldon originally set A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Colorado Ballet in 1997 and the Company is bringing the production back this season.  The ballet features Oberon, King of the Fairies and his servant Puck as they take revenge on Oberon’s Queen Titania by making her fall in love with Bottom the Weaver, who has been transformed into a donkey.  Puck and Oberon also play love games with mortals Hermia, Demitrius, Helena and Lysander.  The ballet ends happily for the crisscrossed young lovers and for Oberon and his queen.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies because it deals with love, mischief and falling in love with a donkey,” said Boggs.  “Set in two worlds, the land of the fairies and the land of reality, the play translates very well into a ballet.  Fans of Shakespeare and fans of ballet will both love this production, especially with the added magic of an orchestra and a collaboration with the Colorado Children’s Chorale performing Mendelssohn’s fanciful score live.”

Performance Dates and Times:
Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 2 p.m. 

Ticket prices range from $25 to $155. To purchase tickets, visit www.ColoradoBallet.org or call 303-837-8888 ext. 2.

Artists of Colorado Ballet in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Photo by Terry Shapiro

Colorado Children’s Chorale to perform with Colorado Ballet in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Friday, August 08, 2014
Colorado Ballet's upcoming season opener of A Midsummer Night's Dream will feature music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra and the Colorado Children's Chorale.  The production will run from September 26-October 5 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

About the Colorado Children's Chorale

Since 1974, the Colorado Children’s Chorale has brought its artistry and charm to audiences throughout the world. With a diverse repertoire ranging from fully staged opera and musical theater to standard choral compositions in classical, folk and popular traditions, the Chorale performs with an innovative stage presentation and a unique theatrical spirit.

The Colorado Children's Chorale annually trains 500 members between the ages of 7 and 14 from all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds representing more than 180 schools in the Denver metro area and beyond. Since its founding in 1974, the Chorale has sung countless performances with some of the world’s finest performing arts organizations, performed for numerous dignitaries, and appeared in several television and radio broadcasts.

Colorado Children's Chorale

Colorado Children's Chorale

For more information about A Midsummer Night's Dream, please click here.

Colorado Ballet re-signs Artistic Director Gil Boggs to five year contract

Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Gil Boggs

Colorado Ballet’s Board of Trustees renewed Artistic Director Gil Boggs’s contract for an additional five years.  Boggs accepted the position of Artistic Director with Colorado Ballet in the spring of 2006.

“The Board last renewed his contract in 2009 and we have been so pleased with the artistic and financial success of Colorado Ballet under his leadership that we are honored to offer him an additional five years,” said Colorado Ballet Board Co-chairs Henny Lasley and Holly Baroway. “We look forward to another five years of continued excellence under his leadership.”

During Boggs’ tenure, Colorado Ballet has presented 14 world premieres and 12 Colorado Ballet premieres by choreographers including Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch, Anthony Tudor, Val Caniparoli, Dwight Rhoden and Lynne Taylor-Corbett.  He has also restaged full-length productions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote and Coppelia along with adding new full-length productions of Romeo & Juliet, Le Corsaire, Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan.  In addition, Colorado Ballet performed at the Gotham Dance Festival at The Joyce Theatre in New York City in June 2012 at the invitation of choreographer Jodie Gates. She chose two companies to show the span of her work, and Colorado Ballet performed her ballet Embellish.

“I am honored that the Board of Trustees has offered me a five year extension,” said Boggs.  “I am so proud of this Company and the quality of performances.  You don’t have to go to New York or San Francisco to see a great ballet, you can see it in Denver with Colorado Ballet.”

In addition to his artistic achievements, Boggs has also worked with the Board of Trustees to secure a new home for Colorado Ballet, which is slated to open next month after construction is complete.  The new 30,000 square foot dance training and rehearsal studio in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe will include eight state-of-the-art professional dance studios, improved amenities for the professional Company and Academy, and The Armstrong Theater, a black box theater for small performances and events.

“Professional ballet companies who have built and own their facilities see tremendous growth and we expect the new building to do the same for Colorado Ballet,” said Boggs.  “Our new home in the Arts District on Santa Fe is a wonderful statement that we are a viable organization with deep roots in the city of Denver.”

Financially, the organization continues to improve under Boggs’ leadership.  Last season, Colorado Ballet had the most successful performance season in the history of the organization, breaking both attendance and revenue records.

“More and more people are coming to see Colorado Ballet and it is because of Gil’s artistic leadership that the Company is able to present such a great variety of performances,” said Lasley and Baroway.  “During the last few years, Colorado Ballet has offered classical ballet masterpieces like Swan Lake and Giselle, family-friendly shows like Peter Pan and Cinderella, and innovative contemporary works like The Rite of Spring and Traveling Alone.  Colorado Ballet offers something for everyone to enjoy because of the diversity of Gil’s artistic choices.  We are looking forward to Colorado Ballet’s 2014-2015 season and beyond.”

Boggs began his dance career with the Atlanta Ballet.  He joined American Ballet Theatre in New York in 1982 and was promoted to soloist dancer in 1984 and principal dancer in 1991.  Boggs was a member of the company for 17 years. He also performed with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Baryshnikov and Company, Nureyev and Friends, and made several guest appearances around the world.

Colorado Ballet promotes two Soloists to Principals, adds six new Corps de Ballet dancers

Monday, August 04, 2014

Colorado Ballet promotes two of its Soloist dancers to Principals and adds six new Corps de Ballet dancers, for a total of 30 Company dancers.

Artistic Director Gil Boggs promoted Dana Benton and Domenico Luciano to Principals.

Benton is now in her 14th season with Colorado Ballet.  In 2001, she joined Colorado Ballet as a Corps de Ballet member and was promoted to Soloist in 2007.  Her notable roles include Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Swanilda in Coppélia, Cow Girl in Rodeo, Ave Maria Pas de Deux, Clara and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Gulnara in Le Corsaire, Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, Lucy in Dracula, Princess Florine and Diamond Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Peasant Pas in Giselle, Flower Girl and Cupid in Don Quixote, Hermia and Peaseblossom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the featured role in Amy Seiwert’s Traveling Alone.

Luciano is in his second season with Colorado Ballet.  He joined Colorado Ballet as a Soloist during the 2013-2014 season after serving as a Principal dancer with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston.  His repertoire includes many of the classical principal leads including Romeo, Paris, and Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet, Solor in La Bayadere, The Prince in The Nutcracker, Albrecht in Giselle, Onegin in Onegin, and Don Jose in Carmen, as well as several contemporary works.

Colorado Ballet’s new Corps de Ballet dancers include: Joshua Allenback, Ariel Breitman, Emily Dixon, Oliveira Fernanda, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch.

In addition to the new Corps de Ballet dancers, 20 Studio Company dancers will join the 30 professional Company dancers this season for the productions at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.  Colorado Ballet's Studio Company is a pre-professional training opportunity for dancers with the potential and desire to become professional dancers.

Colorado Ballet’s preview and repertory performance of An Evening Under the Stars will take place on August 16 at the Arvada Center Outdoor Amphitheater.  The company will officially open the 2014-2015 season with A Midsummer Night’s Dream on September 26 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Dana Benton

 

Domenico Luciano

Colorado Ballet's 2014-2015 season in posters

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Here is a quick preview of our upcoming 54th season in posters!  During the 2014-2015 season, Colorado Ballet will present A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dracula, The Nutcracker, Ballet MasterWorks and Peter and the WolfClick here for more information about any of these upcoming productions.

Photos: Chandra Kuykendall, Domenico Luciano, Dana Benton, Maria Mosina, Kevin Gaël Thomas and Joshua Allenback, by Allen Birnbach 

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