Mountain Mayhem: Let’s Dance |

Mountain Mayhem: Let’s Dance

May Selby
Mountain Mayhem
Sammy Altenau, a founding member of DanceAspen, strikes a pose. Courtesy photo.

Recently founded by Laurel Winton, DanceAspen is a thriving resident dance company that continues to grow and their vision of building a year-round, high-caliber, local dance company in the Roaring Fork Valley is fast becoming a reality. In less than a year, they have set the bar high to deliver quality programming and continue to push the envelope with more to come.

Their inaugural performance at The Wheeler Opera House last September sold out and earned rave reviews from the audiences and critics. In March, they saw record-setting attendance at two evening performances that were all female choreographed and called Elevated, also staged at The Wheeler. Local dancers in the performance included Anthony Tiedeman, Matthew Gilmore, Sammy Altenau, Madeleine Scott, Kaya Wolsey and Katherine Bolanos. The performance also featured a short film of a dancer shot on Aspen Mountain as the backdrop to a live cello musical performance by Julliard graduate Erica Ogihara. To kick off the weekend, a ticketed VIP opening night took place at Hotel Jerome on Friday, March 4, beginning at Bad Harriet with a cocktail reception where guests had a chance to meet the new choreographers, Danielle Rowe and Ana Maria Lucaciu. Following the cocktail reception, guests headed over to The Wheeler for the premiere. Following the show, the Jerome presented a three-course wine-paired dinner in the Aspen Times room, welcoming patrons and members of the DanceAspen troupe.

This summer, they’ll present their first gala on Saturday, July 16, at Hotel Jerome with an American Bandstand-themed dinner and party. As the primary fundraising event to carry DanceAspen through their second season, the gala’s revenue will go toward their mission of continuing to bring exciting new choreography to the Roaring Fork Valley, enriching the community with outreach and education and supporting the local dance artists who have made Aspen their home. The evening starts with a cocktail hour followed by a three-course dinner, dance program, paddle raise, dance party and Bandstand competition.

For more information about the summer gala and upcoming programs, visit

David Gitlitz and Luke Willis at a DanceAspen reception at Bad Harriet.
DanceAspen patrons Melissa Temple, Soffia Wardy and Carol Fant.
DanceAspen board member JJ Singh and founder Laurel Winton at Bad Harriet.
Bad Harriet bartender Danny Roberts and bartender in residence Mary Lou Mountain.
Jan and John Sarpa at a VIP opening night reception for DanceAspen in March.
DanceAspen founder and executive director Laurel Winton welcomes all to The Wheeler.


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