Celebrating 10 years by looking to the future
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has always bucked the trend, and it’s not about to stop now.Most ballet companies present highlights from the past when they plan an anniversary performance. But not Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.”We thought about doing that for a few minutes, then went into another direction, because that’s how this company was born,” said Jean-Philippe Malaty, the company’s executive director and co-founder. “We never took a very orthodox approach from day one. A look back wouldn’t reflect the spirit of the company.”Instead, he and artistic director Tom Mossbrucker are looking forward by commissioning four new ballets this season- the most they’ve ever created in one season. The achievement speaks to the reputation the company has built; without it, top choreographers wouldn’t release their work to the company. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will present two premieres this month and two this summer.This winter’s 10th anniversary celebration includes three pieces. The first is titled “Pointeoff,” by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo. It is set to music by Bach-Bussoni and features complex, athletic choreography. Elo adds a European flair to the movement, blending classical ballet with a contemporary and earthy modern-dance style. Elo challenges the dancers by harmonizing their maneuvers to the brisk pace of piano playing.”This Bach piece has micro-worlds inside the structure that I’m fascinated about,” Elo said.In exploring the worlds the music dramatizes, he conveys relationships between duos, trios, groups and oneself.Taiwanese choreographer Edwaard Liang presents the second world premiere: “Whispers in the Dark,” set to music by Philip Glass. The dark, internal piece is the most intense of the three dances.One of the industry’s most famous female choreographers, Twyla Tharp, rounds out the evening of dance with “Sweet Fields.” The entire ensemble, dressed in white, flows with traditional Shaker hymns, conveying a spiritual sense of community.And, for the first time, students of the School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the children from the Folklórico Mexicano program will give a 10-minute demonstration of their skills before the company dances.
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