Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is INCREDIBLE!

I had the unbelievable pleasure of watching the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet perform tonight with my mom. I have heard wonderful things about this company, but nothing could prepare me for the incredible treat that was waiting for us tonight!

The district theater is in the Aspen Elementary School, and, thinking once again that Aspen is a typical town (silly me), I expected an average school theater. Wrongo, the theater itself is a wonderful container, reminding me of some of the terrific small venues in Mountain View and San Francisco.

We watched three pieces, all of which were exquisite, from the lighting to the costuming to the stage design. But what really stood out for me was the incredible choreography. Somehow, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has managed to stay firmly rooted in classical ballet, honoring the discipline of form, the dancers expressing line in a seemingly never ending extension and unfolding, while bringing us into the conversation with the language of today's movement.

To call this "modern ballet" would be doing it a terrific disservice. There is none of the stilted self indulgence of purposely awkward and unusual movement, every gesture with foot or thigh or shoulder is an economic and carefully chosen dialogue with the audience.

I was astounded at the complexity of relationship and story telling that was accessible to us through these dancers and the beautifully designed choreography. I felt drawn immediately into each relationship, and not because of didactic over expressionism, but because I recognized the physicality from my own human experience.

I lived in LA, Boston and New York, and spent a lot of time at the ballet, and rarely have been so captivated, not since Mathew Bourne's Swan Lake, which I had the pleasure of seeing on its American Debut, have I held my breath like this.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will be in town again March 6, if you can get yourself here, by all means, drop everything and go see this rare and incredible treat.

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