Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to premiere first evening-length ballet |

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to premiere first evening-length ballet

Staff report
Nicolo Fonte's "Where We Left Off," photographed for the 2018 Aspen Santa Fe Ballet season. The choreographer is returning to Aspen this summer with the full-length "Beautiful Decay."
Michele Cardamone/Courtesy photo

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will produce the first evening-length ballet in its 23-year history this summer with Nicolo Fonte’s “Beautiful Decay.”

A longtime company collaborator, Fonte’s originally created “Beautiful Decay” in 2013 for BalletX in Philadelphia, in a haunting work in two parts that juxtaposes daring athleticism and technical prowess against the reality of aging. It will include septuagenarian guest performers Hilary Cartwright and Gregg Bielemeier.

With original set design by Tony Award winner Mimi Lien, and set to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Max Richter’s reinterpretations, the company will perform “Beautiful Decay” on July 9, July 19 and Aug. 24.

The production is the centerpiece of a summer 2019 season announced Thursday by the company.

The season also will include a one-night performance by Compagnie Hervé Koubi, an all-male troupe from Algeria and Burkina Faso that premiered in Aspen in 2017. The company will perform “Les Nuits Barbares ou Les Premiers Matin du Monde (The Barbarous Nights, or the First Dawns of the World)” on July 24. The piece takes its inspiration from the story of the Mediterranean Basin and the blending of cultures that occurred there throughout history.

“No matter if we are Algerian, Spanish, French, Greek, we are first and foremost Mediterranean, and this feeling of belonging is much more ancient than the concept of nations,” choreographer Hervé Koubi said in the announcement.

The fan-favorite Stars of American Ballet will return for one night Aug. 3. Handpicked and directed by New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, this group of elite dancers will perform a varied program featuring classics by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, as well as Christopher Wheeldon’s “This Bitter Earth.” This year’s program also features an appearance by ballroom dancer Denys Drozdyuk — known to television viewers as half of DNA, the ballroom duo “World of Dance.”

Alonzo King LINES Ballet will bring a program of two ballets to Aspen on Aug. 10: “Handel” and “Common Ground.” Originally created for the Swedish Royal Ballet, “Handel” is choreographer Alonzo King’s exploration of the dramatic elegance of Baroque expression. “Common Ground” is the result of a much-anticipated collaboration with the renowned Kronos Quartet.

All performances will be held at the Aspen District Theatre.

Tickets for all summer series performances will go on sale May 21 and are available online at, by phone at 970-920-5770 and in-person at the Wheeler Opera House box office. Prices range from $36 to $94.