Dancers from Colorado Youth Ballet and Connexus Dance Collective will be performing in Illuminate at Sand Creek High School on Sunday, March 17, at 4:00pm, bringing the best in classical repertoire and contemporary dance to the Front Range region. Act 1, Spotlight, features youth ballet dancers performing variations from some of the most well known ballets, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, Le Corsaire, Les Sylphides, and Sleeping Beauty. Act 2, Connexus Collections, premieres two new contemporary dance works, Evade and The Journey, Not the Destination, along with Aaron Copeland's, original version of Appalachian Spring.
“We are eager to share both classical variations and original and powerful new choreography with our Colorado Springs audience,” says Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “If you missed seeing Appalachian Spring last month in the sold-out performances with the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, you have another chance to see it at Illuminate.”
Appalachian Spring, originally commissioned in 1943 for Martha Graham, tells the story of a pioneer celebration of spring in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. Choreographed by Laci Landry with Dan Prewitt and Micky Olson, the contemporary dance work is uniquely beautiful, illustrative of the music, and respectful to the heritage and history of Graham. Prominently featured are Julia Stark and Dan Brown as the Wife and Husband, Emma Michaux as the Pioneer Woman, and Ford Tackett as the Preacher.
“I am so excited to see the Connexus Collective dancers perform Appalachian Spring again,” shares co-choreographer, Laci Landry. “This has been my largest and most exciting undertaking as a choreographer, and I so enjoyed re-imagining Martha Graham's creation with Daniel and Micky. It was a unique challenge staying true to the original story yet creating new movement and visuals that would highlight and challenge our dancers. Audiences are going to love the breadth of style and variety in this portion of the show. Appalachian Spring and Evade are very different works and really show the depth and versatility of our dancers.”
CBS instructors Daniel Prewitt and Elisa Olson will perform The Journey, Not the Destination, also choreographed by Prewitt. "This abstract work depicts our lives, how we should continually grow, change and remold ourselves as we journey on. We are not creatures who are stagnant or complacent, but rather living beings who have the ability to be in motion, making choices that push us along or hold us back. We long to grow and improve ourselves, which is an inborn desire in all humans, it is up to us whether we actually improve or stay content as we are. We should always embody this attitude of growth and change as we journey through life."
Evade is a new work set by Mia Otto and Laci Landry on the Connexus junior company and Senior Company members Isabel Harris, Nicole Norman, and Veronica Masztalerz.
“I love the story we are telling in Evade,” shares Co-Choreographer, Mia Otto, who is also the studio manager at Colorado Ballet Society. “Coming out of sadness/depression through the help of those around us. Without friendship and family support, we could not walk through hard times alone. The audience will love the heart-wrenching emotional roller coaster of this piece.”
One of the many highlights in the Spotlight portion of the concert is a duet, titled "Hézuò” (which is Chinese for collaborate) performed by violinist Noah Devolve and dancer Alea YunCai Brown. The music and choreography are also original compositions of both Devolve and Brown.
“I have loved getting to learn so much about choreographing, collaborating and working with a musician, as well as my instructor one on one,” explains fifteen-year-old homeschooled student, Alea YunCai Brown who is performing in a worship trio as well.
Noah, a high school senior, will be performing on stage with Alea as she dances. “This my first experience at choreographing and working with a musician to create a brand-new piece,” explains Alea. “We can’t wait to perform this piece on the 17th!”
“Le Corsaire is one of my favorite classical story ballets and the variations we're sharing in Spotlight were some of my favorites when I was training,” claims Laci Landy, instructor/choreographer with Ballet Society. “It has been so much fun setting them on our students and watching them grow in technical skill as well as performance quality. The Pas de Trois des Odalisques is particularly stunning and extremely difficult. Adapted from American Ballet Theatre's 1999 version, these students are dancing professional level choreography and doing so beautifully. We have some very talented young choreographers and they are sure to impress the audience with their creativity”.
Performing as a dancer and also a choreographer in the production is 18-year-old Colorado Springs Christian School senior, Emma Michaux, who has appeared locally in previous productions such as Snow Queen and Dewdrop Fairy in The Nutcracker and Pas de Trois in Swan Lake. “Black Swan is one of my favorite roles of all time, and choreographing my own pieces is always exciting and a new challenge,” shares Emma. “I love preparing new challenging works and working on new characters for these pieces as well as improving my technique. It’s exciting to see so many dancers in their own strengths in this production.” Emma has been dancing at Ballet Society for eight years and is a multiple time award winner at the Denver Ballet Guild, the Esther Geoffrey Ballet scholarship competition and the Esther Geoffrey Jazz scholarship competition.
“I am excited to highlight the students' hard work and the talent they possess. It is also a joy to bring my choreography to life in this performance,” says instructor/choreographer Daniel Prewitt. “If you are a member of the Colorado Springs community you will not want to miss this performance. It showcases Colorado Ballet Society’s students, instructors and choreographers at their best. We have all been working hard to bring you a top notch production that you will be sure to enjoy. We cannot wait to see you all there!”
Who: Colorado Ballet Society’s Colorado Youth Ballet and Connexus Dance Collective
What: Illuminate, a vibrant performance of new works & classical variations by Colorado Youth Ballet & Connexus Dance Collective
When: Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 4:00pm
Where: Sand Creek High School Theater 7005 Carefree Cir N, CS, CO 80922
Tickets: $20 at the door and online
Figure 1 Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet dancer Emma Michaux PC Katherine Marie Photography
Figure 2 Julia Stark and Dan Brown in Appalachian Spring PC Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 3 Alea YunCai Brown and Noah Devolve in Hezuo PC Madeline Groenendaal
Figure 4 Trinity Isidore PC Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 5 Julia Stark and Dan Brown in rehearsal for Appalachian Spring PC Kayla Coburn
Figure 6 Isabel Harris and Alea YunCai Brown PC Kayla Coburn
Figure 7 Members of Connexus Dance Collective PC Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography