Bird Ballet

In one way, local folk darlings Paper Bird are an unlikely choice for pairing with ballet, a form that brings more serious violins and prodigious statement to mind than that band’s old-timey, almost vaudevillian Americana. In another way, it makes perfect sense: Beneath the burlap-sleeved rural charm of the banjos and barbershop harmonies, there’s an ethereal beauty and innocence to Paper Bird’s music, one that begs for sweeping gestures and has often been known to inspire love at first listen.

Such was the case with Ballet Nouveau Colorado artistic director Garrett Ammon, who somewhat cannily credits his introduction to Paper Bird to Westword: “The first I heard of them was when Paper Bird and BNC were both featured in a Westword Best of Denver issue. When I read the description, I immediately went out and bought all their recordings, and really just fell in love.” It’s befitting of that sentiment that, from there, Ammon reached out on faith to ask for the first date, so to speak. He just e-mailed them. “I was nervous they’d think I was some kind of crazy lunatic or something,” he chuckles.

Happily, the band was just as enthusiastic about a collaboration as Ammon was ― so enthusiastic, in fact, that the band was inspired to write 65 minutes of new music that eventually became Carry On, which makes its debut tonight; it’ll be the premiere of both the music and the dance. As for the love affair that led to it, Ammon can only say, “Wow, it’s been really incredible.”

The show opens tonight at 8 p.m. at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 South Allison Parkway in Lakewood, and continues through the weekend, moving next week to the Performing Arts Complex at PCS, 1001 West 84th Avenue, and finishing its run there. Tickets range from $17 to $44; for details, call 303-466-5685 or visit
Feb. 4-5, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 6, 2 p.m., 2011

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte