Kroenke Kulture

Learning to love the Big Dance.

 "We are a sports, entertainment and culture company," said Kroenke Executive Vice President David Ehrlich, who announced details of a ten-year contract. Kroenke Sports Enterprises also owns the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets and the Pepsi Center.

-- from a story describing Kroenke's recent deal with the Colorado Ballet, Rocky Mountain News, April 26.

"Kroenke Sports announces state ballet company now to be known as Colorado Dancing Bears" -- News, May 20

Sam Turner

"We needed a name that would make your ordinary Joe Sixpack ballet fan want to stand up and root for his hometown dancers. Bears are often associated with dancing in people's minds," David Ehrlich explained at a media event. "Bears also live in Colorado. And some of the gals can be very cuddly, like bears." Gart Bros. has been named official merchandiser of the new Colorado Dancing Bears Ballet Company.

"Tu, tu lovable! Dancing Bears unveil Baloo: Deal with Disney permits dancing bear from beloved Jungle Book to be ballet's new mascot" -- News, May 21

Ehrlich said that, in addition to his performance-night duties, for which the huggable bear would develop his own zany routines to entertain fans during intermissions and between movements, Baloo would represent the company when the dancers themselves could not.

"Every twelve-year-old boy with a dream of dancing at Lincoln Center, every CEO who fantasizes about his own tour jeté would love to have a [Sharon] Wellnick or [Ryoko] Ohno at his birthday party or charity fundraiser," the Kroenke vice president said. "Naturally, with the public demands on our troupe's schedule, that's just not possible. Baloo will be the public face of our principals and company artists when necessary.

(Lincicome: Ballet is no place for world of competitive mascots. 5C)

"Auditorium Theatre announces auditorium-naming deal: 'Good Times Theatre' contract worth millions to ballet team" -- News, June 25

"It's a win-win situation," a spokesman for the Denver-based burger chain said. "The dance team gets the first-class stadium it deserves, and every time a radio, TV or cable announcer mentions the theater or ballet team, people will think of our burgers and frozen custard."

(Krieger: Naming deal hard to swallow: Why should anorexics be represented by a burger chain? 3C)

"Station to broadcast Dancing Bears live: Radio deal also calls for 'Blowtorch of the Rockies' to air pre- and post-performance interview shows" -- News, July 17

Broncos' announcers Dave Logan and Scott Hastings have signed on to be "Voices of the Ballet" for KOA/850-AM. Also known for their popular drive-time radio show, the Sports Zoo, Logan and Hastings will provide movement-by-movement coverage of home performances. Hastings will also host The Martin Fredmann Show, during which the ballet's widely admired artistic director will take on-air calls from fans who want to discuss choreography decisions and philosophy of the dance.

"Although Kentucky had very few opportunities for seven-foot boys who loved to dance, this is something I've dreamed of since I was a young boy," Hastings, a former NBA basketball player, admitted.

Conservative talk-show host and self-described "rabid ballet fan" Mike Rosen said he was also thrilled about the partnership. "Ballet is a rite of winter, an annual indication that ennui springs eternal," he said. "We are very fired up about this."

"'Meet Your Dancing Bears' benefit to be held at American Furniture Warehouse locations" -- News, September 5

Dancers and company choreographers are scheduled to sign autographs and pose for fan photos. Self-described "lifetime ballet fan" Jake Jabs said he hopes to procure about two dozen bears for the media event.

(Griego: At this North Denver school, they love the new ballet team as much as anyone. But pointe shoes are very expensive. 2B)

"Mayor to conduct honorary opening overture of first movement in inaugural Dancing Bears ballet performance" -- News, October 10

"It's been a long time since I've held the baton," Hickenlooper joked. "I hope I can keep the beat."

"Governor rips selection of Phish to sing national anthem at Dancing Bear's opening-night performance" -- News, November 14

"This is an evening in which Colorado officially gets to root for their Dancing Bears for the first time," Owens complained at a press conference. "It shouldn't be preceded by a bunch of howling hippies from out of state. Where the hell is Big Head Todd? What's more American than playing the national anthem on opening night at the ballet?"

Bears injury report for week of November 23:

Stanley (knee), Gonzales (groin), Dillenger (ego).

Dancing Bears Artistic Director Fredmann is keeping his opening-night lineup selections close to the vest, declining to say whether principal soloist Ann Marie Turner, who has been struggling with a nagging toe injury, will star in this week's performance. "We'll see how she does in warmups," he said. "Obviously, we'd love to go with our first string."

"Nuts to this Nutcracker; opening night underwhelms standing-room-only crowd" -- News, November 29

Welcome to the "Land of S'No Good." In the only performance this year that made the Nuggets look graceful, the Colorado Dancing Bears twirled and bumbled onto the public stage for the first time last night. Unfortunately, it was with less an ursine roar than a cub-like whimper.

At only 6:25 into the new winter ballet season, fans' hopes for a flawless performance were dashed when Clara (Ann Marie Turner) blew her opening pirouette, lurching off balance and disrupting the entire offensive scheme of the piece. And that was the artistic high point.

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