Denial of visa trips up Aspen Santa Fe Ballet |

Denial of visa trips up Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Co. is changing its 2003 schedule at the last minute because its choreographer has been denied a visa into the United States.

Jacopo Godani is currently the resident choreographer for the Monte Carlo Ballet. Godani, a native of Italy, has never been in the United States, and the local ballet company was excited to debut his work nationally.

“It was a major coup for us, because we would have been the first to bring him to this country,” said Jean-Philippe Malaty, the company’s executive director. “It would have showed the status of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.”

Godani is “one of the most famous choreographers in Europe,” he said, and has worked for the Frankfurt Ballet, the Royal Ballet and the Danish Ballet.

Malaty said the denial has left the ballet company scrambling to change its schedule for this spring and summer. Godani was scheduled to be in the states for three weeks to choreograph a performance March 20-22.

Instead, Malaty said the company hopes to learn a ballet called “Entitled,” by the Pilobolus Dance Theatre. “Entitled” was supposed to be performed later during the summer of 2003.

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will keep working to get Godani to the states for the summer productions, he said.

Malaty said the ballet company had sought an “alien of extraordinary ability of the arts” visa into the United States, indicating the extent of Godani’s work and the fact that company officials are trying to bring his style of choreography to the country.

“It’s not like we’re taking work away from anyone else, because we want his style,” Malaty said. “It’s like if you want to buy a painting by Picasso, you can’t buy a Matisse.”

Repercussions of the denial include having to cancel the work of a lighting designer, a costume designer, lost airline tickets and changing marketing strategies and brochures that were already printed.

Colorado is ranked 50th in the nation for arts funding, “so we have to fight that, and then the fires this summer, the lack of snow and a drop of tourism,” Malaty said. “Now the government is making it more difficult to bring artists of caliber here. But Aspen is a world-class resort, and we want to have the best.”

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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