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Ballet Director's Choice: Traveling Alone Rehearsal PART 1

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Artists of Colorado Ballet rehearse "Traveling Alone," one of the three ballets in the upcoming contemporary repertory production, "Ballet Director's Choice."

Colorado Ballet Academy: Q&A with instructor Kathi Crum

Friday, March 07, 2014
Kathi Crum

Colorado Ballet is thrilled to present one of its newest instructors, Kathi Crum. Since August 2013, Kathi has supported the Academy’s quality training program, allowing all of her students a strong foundation of ballet technique, discipline, and self-confidence to achieve their greatest potential of artistic and technical expression. Teaching classes in creative movement through level 3 and eventually level 4, her inspiration has come from her passion for the art since a young child. “My philosophy for teaching ballet is to first honor the 400 year discipline, and my teachers, by maintaining high standards of technique, expectations, and artistry,” said Kathi.

During an interview with Colorado Ballet, Kathi revealed her true passion for dancing and shed light on what the art has meant to her. Below are a few Q&A’s with our new academy teacher:

What's your favorite part about teaching with Colorado Ballet?
Kathi: It is an honor to work with other distinguished members in the ballet community to maintain and elevate the caliber of ballet.  But having the company on-site to be an example for the students to strive for is a wonderful opportunity.

What’s your philosophy on dancing?
Kathi: Wow - a big question with a big answer... I'll try to make it short.  My philosophy for teaching ballet is to first honor the 400 year discipline, and my teachers, by maintaining high standards of technique, expectations, and artistry.  So I consistently evaluate the effectiveness of my own teaching and continue to learn from the best in the field internationally. To pass on the art I have to to get each child engaged, interested and excited about what they are learning.  Ballet and dance is a joyful expression at its essence, I take the balance of maintaining a hardworking, productive class in a positive, encouraging, atmosphere very seriously. Children thrive and learn best when acknowledged, are happy, and understand the expectations.  I insist that correct execution of the movement be strived for. I like smart dancers... when they are ready they learn why and how a movement is executed as well as to how to 'self-correct'.  In the end, I want each student to achieve their individual best technically, artistically and with good character.

Who do you look up to? Who are your mentors?
Kathi: My mother for always infusing the arts, beauty, curiosity, and compassion into my life. My first ballet teacher, Marsha Ismailoff Mark, for developing my eye for artistry. Trinette Singleton, for being exacting in her requirements for sound and clean ballet technique. And Marcia Dale-Weary for demonstrating the possibility of effective, high quality teaching and results with an unconventional performing career.

What does ballet mean to you?
Kathi: Ballet... I am honored to be a part of such a long-standing art. Ballet has been a part of my life since first watching it on TV as a 4-year and then live productions that my mother would take me too.  I have been very blessed to have had so many wonderful opportunities and to use those experiences to enrich my ability to teach my students.  Whether it's a student or an audience member, I get to brighten their day through the joy and beauty of ballet - how wonderful is that?!

What is your favorite ballet?
Kathi: I love watching the contemporary or neoclassical ballets, like Colorado Ballet's upcoming Ballet Director's Choice performances, for their innovation, creativity, and dynamics.  However, of the classical ballets, Don Quixote is always exciting to watch. 

*For information on Colorado Ballet Academy and classes please visit http://coloradoballet.org/academy/class-descriptions
*Kathi Crum’s full bio can be found at http://coloradoballet.org/faculty/kathi-crum

Ballet Director's Choice: Feast of the Gods

Friday, February 28, 2014

On March 28-30 2014, Colorado Ballet will close out its season with Ballet Director’s Choice. This contemporary production will present three entirely different pieces, each with their own unique choreography and music.

Feast of the Gods, choreographed by Edwaard Liang, with music by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, will be the second of the three-part production. This performance was originally inspired by the history of a band of traveling gypsies.

The darkly powerful choreography created by Edwaard Liang delivers a sense of elegant seduction, modernity and imagination. Unlike your typical tutus and tiaras, Feast of the Gods features very intimate yet sophisticated costumes. Aside from the music and choreography, the brilliant strength displayed by the dancers, the red and black hues of the stage, and the romantic lighting, will ultimately generate a very dynamic and inspiring piece of art, not to mention the passionate and heart-clinching pas de deux.

Liang, who began training at Marin Ballet when he was five, has been internationally known for his rich and lustrous works; his reputation reflects his vision for creativity and his attention for detail. Liang’s mission is to engage the community through quality performance. Liang won the Prince Prize for Choreography and was nominated for the Golden Mask Award in Russia for Best Production.

This work in Ballet Director’s Choice will be danced to a score by Ottorino Respighi, a musician and composer best known for his orchestral music and vivid symphonic poems. Respighi’s music has been influenced by visual experiences and feelings of deep attachment to cherished places. His works have also been inspired by Medieval and Renaissance music.

Click here for more information about Ballet Director's Choice

Sharon Wehner and Jesse Marks in Feast of the Gods, photo by Terry Shapiro

Ballet Director's Choice: Traveling Alone

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Colorado Ballet will close out its season with Ballet Director’s Choice March 28-30 2014. This contemporary production will present three entirely different pieces, each with their own unique choreography and music.

Traveling Alone, choreographed by Amy Seiwert, with music by Max Richter, will be the first of the three. The expressive and courageous performance of Traveling Alone will ultimately signify Amy Seiwert’s emotionally inspiring choreography. As the Artistic Director behind Imagery (a contemporary ballet company in San Francisco), Seiwert believes that ballet is a vital voice to our times. “Imagery is interested in the intersection of genres, and its aesthetic defies classification; Seiwert's artistic direction reflects commitment to create & present work of excellence and influence.” (asimagery.org) The San Francisco Chronicle twice-listed Seiwert’s choreography in the “Top 10” dance events.

In addition to Seiwert’s choreography, the post-classical music of Max Richter will give Traveling Alone an edgy and modern style. Ignoring the boundaries in favor of mysterious and thrillingly beautiful sounds, Richter’s vision has been influenced by a blend of electronic, rock and classical music. Richter’s scores have not only received several awards, but have also been used in various films including the motion pictures Disconnect and Shutter Island.

Traveling Alone is a piece about a woman traveling to some distant land where she interacts with eight others; she’s an outsider, who moves differently, dresses differently, and through dance eventually meets a common ground with the others. Between the modern costumes, vibrant energy on stage, and the breathtaking strength of the dancers, this section of Ballet’s Director’s Choice will deliver an artistic and dramatic world-class ballet.

Click here for more information about Ballet Director's Choice.

Artists of Colorado Ballet in Traveling Alone, photo by Terry Shapiro

Summer Intensive Special Guest Instructor: Sascha Radetsky

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Sascha Radetsky
Colorado Ballet’s official school is known as the Colorado Ballet Academy, where thousands of students have been exposed to the highest quality of dance training and where many have started their careers as professional dancers. The Academy offers a Summer Intensive Program, where students are considered for the year-long pre-professional program as well as the opportunity to join the Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company. In addition to the various classes offered during the Summer Intensive, Colorado Ballet hosts special guest instructors. Students at this year’s intensive will have the opportunity to take class from special guest Sascha Radetsky, an actor and soloist danseur of the American Ballet Theatre.

Many recognize Sascha Radetsky from starring in the popular 2000 American teen drama film Center Stage, where he played Charlie. He also appeared in the hit Mandy Moore music video “I Wanna Be with You,” from the movie’s soundtrack. Radetsky had leading roles in the PBS television movie Home at Last, and the NBC television series Midnight Caller. Currently, Radetsky has been working on set in New York City for a new ballet drama series, Flesh and Bone, which is expected to debut on Starz in 2015!
 
Scene from Center Stage
This gifted dancer has studied on scholarship at various renowned summer programs including one of Colorado’s very own, at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, in Vail. He has also danced the works of acclaimed choreographers including George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon.
 
Along with Sascha Radetsky, other special guest appearances during Colorado Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program will include Stella Abrera, Dana Benton, Gil Boggs, Erica Fischbach, John Gardner, Domenico Luciano, Valerie Madonia, Amanda McKerrow, Judy Rice, Igor Vassine, Dominic Walsh, and Sharon Wehner.
 
For more information regarding Summer Intensive 2014 click here: http://coloradoballet.org/academy/summer

Cinderella Student Matinee 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Student matinee
Students in lobby during intermission

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 a row of school buses pulled up to the front of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for Colorado Ballet’s Student Matinee of the classic Cinderella. This was the one of the final dress rehearsals before the big opening night of the production. For the discounted price of only $7, this matinee served nearly 2,000 children from about 40 different school groups. 

Anne O’Connor, Colorado Ballet’s Director of Education and Community Partnerships, says “For many of the students that attended, it was their first time seeing a show. We had kids from Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, etc., attend, and also students from the *Be Beautiful Be Yourself dance program for children with Down Syndrome. Student Matinees were the first education program that Colorado Ballet offered, which was started by Diane Nolen, a trustee who passed away last year.” 

Student matinee
Student dressed up for matinee

Colorado Ballet’s inspiring Education and Outreach Programs offer after-school programs, in-school performances, student and community performances, scholarships, study materials and activity guides, adult education, and educator appreciation and professional development, etc. The programs make more than 60,000 contacts each year, and strive to make dance accessible to everyone!

Between the adorable miniature-sized Cinderella gowns, the ear to ear smiles, innocent giggles, and twirling through the halls during intermission, the fairytale student matinee of Cinderella was full of magic and enchantment. Students, teachers and chaperones all got to experience the beautiful score of Sergei Prokofiev, played by the live Colorado Ballet Orchestra, and the dazzling choreography by world-renowned choreographer Ben Stevenson.  

*The BBBY program is supported by the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

Parking during shows this weekend

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
If you are attending Colorado Ballet's Cinderella this weekend, parking may be an issue. Please arrive early! We highly recommend that you arrive at least one hour before the show starts. The Denver Performing Arts Complex garage is under construction, so half of the spaces are not available. The Colorado Garden and Home Show will be taking place at the Colorado Convention Center, which means that the Convention Center garage and surrounding lots may fill early. Denver Restaurant Week also starts on Saturday, February 22, which may affect restaurants and parking in the area. Late seating will only occur for 15 minutes after the show begins, then patrons will need to wait until the first intermission to be seated. Please plan accordingly. We hope you enjoy Cinderella!

Colorado Ballet's Cinderella - Waltz Rehearsal

Friday, February 14, 2014

This video features artists of Colorado Ballet rehearsing Cinderella.

Saint Valentine’s Day - Around the World

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Here at Colorado Ballet, diverse artistry is showcased whether it’s the dancers themselves, the choreography, the music, the plots of the productions, or the costumes, etc. Our company consists of 30 dancers with diverse backgrounds that come from all over the world. With St. Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to explore the different ways the holiday is celebrated around the globe, and to look at how this romantic holiday is viewed in some of the unique places that our own dancers are from!

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on two different dates, the 14th of February and the 14th of March. On February 14, the women present a gift to the men, usually chocolate, and a month later on the second date known as White Day, the men return the gift. However, the men usually give the women white chocolate. Chocolate is by far the most popular gift in Japan and women tend to make the chocolate gifts by hand. Chocolates are given to male co-workers, bosses, friends, family members, etc. However, chocolates given to men whom women don’t feel romantic love for are called “giri-choco” (meaning obligation chocolate).

In Russia, Valentine’s Day is mostly celebrated the same way as in the U.S, including the giving of roses, romantic dinners with significant others, and exchanging of cards, however in some parts of the country the holiday has actually been banned or cancelled.

In Cuba, Valentine’s Day is known as Lover’s Day, a day of love and friendship. This holiday has also been chosen by many Cubans as a day of giving their sweethearts engagement rings; some have even used it for their wedding day. Lavish custom gifts, big get-togethers and parties, and local clubs/discothèques all decorated and lined up with crowds, are just a few highlights of Lover’s Day in this island country.

Canada, on the other hand, is essentially the exact same as the U.S when it comes to Valentine’s Day, a day where couples give a meaningful gift or spend a night out with their partner. Flowers, candy, romantic cards, jewelry, and lingerie, etc. are a few things that the men usually scramble to buy on the 14th of February.

France, dubbed one of the most romantic places in the world, celebrates Valentine’s Day because during the Middle Ages, the French believed that birds began to mate mid-February, therefore lovers started exchanging tokens of love on the 14th, the saint’s day.  To this day, romantics will visit the Indre village of St Valentin for the Valentine’s Day festival, where the whole village is covered in red flowers and couples can get married in the gazebo, after pinning love notes on the Tree of Vows.

In Ireland, you can visit the actual St. Valentine’s Shrine in Dublin on Valentine’s Day or on any other day. Similar to how the U.S celebrates this holiday; the couples in Ireland usually give each other small romantic gifts. However, the streets of Ireland are swept with lavish decorations and the region is illuminated with fireworks at dusk.

Colorado Ballet Interviews Jesse Marks - One of the Cinderella Stepsisters

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This video includes an interview with Colorado Ballet Soloist Jesse Marks and features rehearsal footage of artists of Colorado Ballet.

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