New Aspen ballet company to debut in September |

New Aspen ballet company to debut in September

DanceAspen founded by former Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dancers

Members of the new DanceAspen in rehearsal. (Claire Tweedy/Scout Photography)
Tyler Stableford/Courtesy photo

A group of performers from the shuttered Aspen Santa Fe Ballet company have founded the new contemporary company DanceAspen and will debut new work at the Wheeler Opera House next month.

The premiere performance of “The Pieces Fall” will be Sept. 17 at the Wheeler.

“We hope to reach all facets of the community through our passion for dance,” executive director Laurel Jenny Winton said in the announcement. “We have unique ideas of how to educate and inspire not only the devoted theatergoer, but those who may never have come across this artform had they not resided here in the first place. The relationships we have cultivated through being a part of this community are what is going to allow us to give back the most. We are so excited to share with everyone the exquisite works we have had the opportunity to develop this summer.”

Alongside Winton, the inaugural DanceAspen cast includes her former Aspen Santa Fe company-mates Anthony Tiedeman, Katherine Bolanos, Sadie Brown, Matthew Gilmore and Kaya Wolsey along with newcomer Sammy Altenau. The team also includes Aspen Santa Fe alum Luke Willis, who is serving as an artistic advisor.

“The Pieces Fall” is an evening of diverse programming by choreographers from around the world including Ben Needham-Wood, Danielle Rowe and Penny Saunders.

Aspen Santa Fe dissolved its company in March 2021, after a year without public performances due to public health restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. DanceAspen is aiming to build a sustainable year-round contemporary dance company that would fill the void left by Aspen Santa Fe, which is still running its dance school and is expected to host performances by guest companies.

“This is just the beginning,” Winton said, “and we are very excited for what is to come.”

The Wheeler also hosted a dance performance by Aspen Santa Fe company members in June at the Aspen Fringe Fest, with Bolanos, Tiedeman and Seia Rassenti Watson in “Phoenix Rising,” choreographed by Fringe Fest’s Adriana Thompson.

“Collaboration is a huge part of our focus at the Wheeler,” Wheeler Opera House director Lisa Rigsby Peterson said. “We want all of our arts organizations to thrive and continue creating art for our community. Our entire Wheeler team is excited to be on this wonderful journey with DanceAspen.”

Tickets are $35-$55 reserved seating and go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (970.920.5770/

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