Our attention was drawn to a familiar but larger-than-life shape as we entered the aging Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre on the evening of Saturday, October 6th. From behind the towering red curtain whispered the shadow of a ballerina, cast into enormity on the back wall. This glimpse into the secret and sacred scene of a dancer in the wings before her curtain call excited me in the way that only the magic of ballet can.
Ballet Ariel director Ilena Norton choreographed “Tale of Molly Brown.” She likes to turn to history when looking for stories for new ballets, noting that Brown was an important figure in Colorado history.
“She epitomizes a lot of what was happening with women at the turn of the century,” Norton says. “So I think that was a very important story for us to tell.”
Reinvention of the classical was the theme of Appalachian Spring & Ballerinas by Degas presented by Ballet Ariel, a Denver ballet company and school. The show ran Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, April 28 and 29 at the Lakewood Cultural Center. The Gallery North, in the first floor lobby, boasted a middle school art exhibit that provided breathtaking and thought-provoking pre-show entertainment. It had been a dazzling estival day in Denver and the sun was still aglow as showtime approached and the audience settled into the darkness of the theater.