When the Colorado Ballet left me a care package yesterday inviting me to a press conference announcing its 2011-2012 season, along with a very pretty box containing one milk-chocolate swan and one white-chocolate swan, it didn't exactly leave a whole lot of intrigue as to what would be on the agenda. Nevertheless, what with the chocolates, I figured there would be free food, and I was not disappointed. Neither was I wrong about my prediction: In early October, the Ballet will open the season with Swan Lake.
"You certainly want to open your season with a blockbuster, which Swan Lake is," explained artistic director Gil Boggs after the announcement. "Through countless e-mails and surveys, people ask us to do Swan Lake year after year, and we haven't done it in a few years, so it seemed like a good time to do it." It's also probably not too far-fetched to speculate that Black Swan might have had something to do with it.
From there, the company will continue to more well-worn territory: "Yeah, December I still haven't figured out yet, but we'll think of something there," Boggs joked, and it was funny because the Ballet does The Nutcracker every December. "We'll do The Nutcracker forever and ever and ever; that's really where we make our money," Boggs acknowledged. But on that front, the company is apparently doing a little better than it has in past years: Executive director Marie Belew Wheatley told me that tickets and donations have been down during the recession, but seem to be on the upturn.
That mild influx of revenue does not seem to be making the company particularly adventurous -- The Nutcracker will be followed in February by a production of Peter Pan. In fairness, though, this particular Peter Pan, choreographed by Michael Pink with all sorts of bells and whistles, is supposed to be pretty cool: Boggs noted that it had "some of the best flying I've ever seen." Let's hope it turns out better than this:
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The final offering of the season is the wild card, bringing a handful of world premieres collectively titled Tribute. Paying homage to Colorado Ballet's founders Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker, Tribute combines works from three female choreographers: Emery LeCrone, Jodie Gates and Amy Seiwert.
"I hear from people all the time, we want something classic, we want something for children, we want something innovative," said Boggs. "We've certainly got all of that this season."