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Ballet season begins

Katie Clary

“Still no tutus!” exclaimed a person attending the opening weekend of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.The ballet company’s dancers may be classically trained, but the premiere of “loveCRAZY” on Thursday was hardly traditional. Choreographer Trey McIntyre thought beyond white tutus and “Swan Lake”-style symmetry. Think instead ankle-length fur coats and Latin flair – a “Breakfast at n see Ballet on page A7– continued from page A1Tiffany’s” meets “West Side Story” feel. “loveCRAZY” explored, not surprisingly, romance. The talented dancers pirouetted to music by Oregon salsa band Pink Martini, flirting between classical technique and creative movement, and, as a testimony to the success of the theme, apparently with each other. The premiere showcased innovative moments, including one that made a ballerina look like a human jump rope and another that can simply be described as a between-the-legs pass. The performers illustrated the infatuation, fantasy and occasional disillusionment of love. The edgiest part of the piece featured a pas de deux that represented the turning point between love’s fantasy and reality. A man and a woman attempted to dance together, but clearly the movement was forced. In the background “Que Sera Sera” played, with a melody that sounded somewhat like circus music gone bad.”It’s a couple that’s going through the postures of being in love, but there’s something wrong underneath it,” McIntyre said.Although the ballet’s ending seemed to imply love’s reality (a man alone on the stage with a fur coat wrapped around his waist), it felt anticlimactic after watching the dynamism and flirtatious chemistry of the troupe. Impressively, the performance, capped off by a medley of different dances, was pulled together in just two weeks. Not bad for such eye-popping art-in-motion. Aspen Santa Fe artistic co-directors Jean-Philippe Malaty and Tom Mossbrucker invited Brooklyn-based McIntyre to create a dance piece to the Pink Martini music on the Lycra-tight schedule. The premiere was preceded by three pieces.”Company B” opened the night with a happy-go-lucky, finger-snapping jive. The tinny, World War II-era music sung by the Andrews Sisters hurt the ears, but the dance set to “Rum and Coca-Cola” was worth a smile for its convincing Chiquita banana woman vibrations and use of four drunk, love-struck sailors in the choreography.”L’apres-midi d’un Faune” featured Sam Chittenden as the coming-of-age fawn in the sensual ballet set to Debussy’s classical composition. In spite of the fact that the “fawn” was prancing across the stage in tighty-whities, and that his bed looked like a gigantic Kleenex box, the choreography was impressive. The movements indeed invoked pastoral images, and Chittenden performed with confidence and strength. “Sinatra Suite” partnered Brooke Klinger and Seth DelGrasso in a beautiful, lyrical pas de deux. The intricate partner work and lifts were reminiscent of ice dancing. Combining Frank Sinatra’s crooning tunes, modern dance pioneer Twyla Tharp’s choreography and tux and cocktail dress elegance, the piece is a pleasure to watch.For more information regarding future ballets and dance companies performing, visit http://www.aspensantafeballet.com or call 925-6098.


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