Dance Aspen bringing top choreo to Vail Dance Festival


The company that was Aspen Santa Fe Ballet carried the mantle for modern day Colorado dance for extra than two a long time, and carried it much, headquartering by itself in its two namesake towns but touring across the state in which its competent troupe and progressive movement received extensive acclaim.

The pandemic put an finish to all that. The worldwide shutdown of performing arts venues set force on the firm and its funds. ASFB, as it was recognized, determined to cease operations. The reduction to Colorado tradition was noteworthy.

But, as we have all figured out about the past two many years, art is resilient, and so are the folks who make it. Out of the ashes of ASFB now arrives Dance Aspen, a new outfit founded and run by the dancers the outdated company still left guiding.

It’s a daring go. Getting any nonprofit off the ground in 2022 is daunting, and the up-and-down overall economy surely complicates issues. But as Dance Aspen’s Laurel Winton frames the scenario, it was a case of reinvention, relocation or retirement.

“There was seriously no other possibility for us residing in Aspen” she claimed. “Our choices were being both to leave the neighborhood to uncover a further dance career or stop dancing and stay in the group.”

Many thanks to assistance from area business enterprise and cultural establishments, Dance Aspen is swiftly having on its feet. The company has offered a few opening concerts and can make its major shift Aug. 7 when it will be showcased at the Vail Dance Festival.

Two dancers performing
Dance Aspen will conduct as aspect of the Vail Dance Competition in August 2022. (Offered by Dance Aspen)

Vail could be just down the street a little bit, but it is a main forum. The fest is world-renowned for bringing jointly the finest talent from dance capitals in the U.S. and Europe and mixing up their get the job done like a DJ. At the Vail Dance Festival, ballet stars share the highlight with ballroom, tap, hip hop dancers and additional.  It’s the very best of the ideal, a person of those high-conclusion operations that make Colorado culture special in the summer months.

Dance Aspen ought to in good shape ideal in. The troupe is professional and knowledgeable, and currently with 7 dancers, together with 6 veterans from the past organization. They know each and every other and their corresponding strengths.

They are operating with prime choreographers. Previously in the repertoire are items by Danielle Rowe, Ana Maria Lucaciu and Cali Quan. At Vail, the firm will perform a new piece by Rowe and premiere a get the job done staying established now by Matthew Gilmore, which will characteristic a stay violin functionality by Mintze Wu.

That deep rep didn’t occur by incident.  When choreographers read the company was gearing up, they available to enable. Rowe basically donated her attempts.

Also supportive have been spots like the Wheeler Opera Household, the historic Aspen landmark wherever Dance Aspen debuted in the spring.

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For facts on Dance Aspen’s forthcoming performances at the Vail Dance Pageant, Lone Tree Arts Center and the Wheeler Opera Dwelling, go to

“All communities are richer when they have resident artistic businesses,” mentioned Wheeler’s government director Lisa Rigsby Peterson, explaining why the opera house did its part. “And we are so lucky to be witnessing the start of an fantastic group of artists listed here.”

Rigsby Peterson receives at one thing significant about the resurrected business. ASFB was very important to the arts scene in the mountain area, exactly where the drop, spring and wintertime can be as very low in cultural offerings as it is in temperatures, notably dance.

Dance Aspen is not just preserving work for artists it also has the likely to hold the area attention-grabbing 12 months-round.

Winton understands that, way too. As founder and government director, she hopes the enterprise grows again to a put the place it can tour extensively. But it is concentrating its early endeavours shut to dwelling.

“Touring is crucial just to get the manufacturer out there in the environment and to be relevant, not just in our community but nationally and internationally,” she claimed. “But Aspen and the valley is our hometown, and that is normally likely to be our main put.”

Aside from a different scheduled overall performance on Sept. 23 at the Wheeler Opera Residence, which follows a Sept. 17 date at the Lone Tree Arts Center (where by, not coincidentally, Rigsy Peterson was the previous govt director), the corporation is however considering its possibilities for how long run seasons will condition up.

There will be other distinctions amongst the old ASFB and the new Dance Aspen. Santa Fe is out as a next household. That dual citizenship was heralded as a groundbreaking exertion in the dance world, again in the working day — a way of successful patronage from two bases, both of those regarded for housing deep-pocketed residents keen to support neighborhood artwork. As a system, it labored — until finally it didn’t.

But Winton is envisioning a thing far more intimate with her enterprise, a great deal far more rooted in partnerships with Aspen’s current enterprises. And the new organization is evolving its have distinctive model superior-suited to the second.


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