Aspen Santa Fe Students soar to new heights | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Santa Fe Students soar to new heights

There are certain delights in every ballet school recital, from bright-eyed preschoolers skipping across the stage to high school seniors wowing the audience with passion-filled solo performances.

This weekend's spring recital by the School of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, with performances tonight and Sunday, is no different.

"The recital is a culmination of a year of hard work," said Melanie Doskocil, director of the Aspen school, adding that more than 300 children ages 3 to 18 will take the stage in classical and contemporary ballet, pointe and jazz dances. "This is the students' chance to not only show their families what they have learned throughout the year but to shine as artists and performers."

In fact, a group of students will shine especially bright this year when they perform "Faust Divertimento" in Act 1. Choreographed by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Executive Director Jean-Phillippe Malaty for the 2001 school recital, the piece has an encore this year with the advanced class performing the challenging piece.

"There is much more choreography than a normal recital piece," Malaty said. "It's more of a composition piece, and it gives the kids a sense of being part of company performance."

Doskocil agreed: "This piece is quite a bit longer than an average recital piece and is filled with entrances, exits, solos duets and trios," she said. "Dancing a piece like this, students get a better understanding of what dancing in a classical ballet is like rather than taking a classical solo out of context."

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Clearly, something special must have happened behind the scenes — in class, six days a week, perhaps? — for "Faust Divertimento" to be staged once again this year.

"We have talked for a couple of years about how nice it would be to bring it back," Malaty said. "And this seemed like the year. This is a great class that has the caliber of students to carry the piece."

And for the students, many of whom have grown up with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, this is the culmination of a childhood spent dancing.

"For our high school students, this can represent 15 years of commitment and dedication to their training," Doskocil said.

It is an accomplishment — and an artform — Malaty looks forward to celebrating as he watches the shows this weekend.

"Back in 2001, when 'Faust Divertimento' was first performed, I was very involved in school. The growth of the organization has pulled me away from that and I wear a different hat now," he said. "But in celebrating 20 years of ASFB this year, this is a nice wink to the past."

IF YOU GO …

School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Spring Recital

Tonight, 6 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m.

Aspen District Theatre

Tickets $25 at http://www.aspenshowtix.com

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