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Engage in Wonderbound's latest performance, "The Seven Deadly Sins." —Courtesy of Wonderbound

Best Bets: Catch Wonderbound’s “The Seven Deadly Sins”

The season opener for one of Denver's most engaging cultural ensembles massages the seven deadly sins into the plot of a wedding ceremony—from the engagement to the honeymoon.

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There’s a wedding in Denver, and everyone is invited to attend for the price of a ticket to Wonderbound’s latest show. Garrett Ammon, the company’s artistic director, has once again shown audiences the power of convergence in a city that is capable of creating something that’s at once quirky, accessible, and world-class—a rare treat that Denverites should squeeze into their ever-expanding array of cultural choices.

Wonderbound’s latest work, The Seven Deadly Sins, offers original, contemporary choreography performed with a primarily strings-based live accompaniment by a select handful of Colorado Symphony members. The incredible, funky, neo-classical score was written by Tom Hagerman, who plays piano, accordion, and strings for Denver-based ensemble Devotchka.

(Go inside Devotchka’s annual performance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra)

Wonderbound is always a no-frills experience—the very absence of the words “dance” or “ballet” in their company title showcases their commitment to creating something that’s less of a ballet, and more of an art explosion. The 2015–16 season opener massages the seven deadly sins—lust, greed, envy, gluttony, sloth, pride, and wrath—into the plot of a wedding ceremony, from the engagement to the honeymoon.

There are no boundaries in the production—the tables and chairs on stage double as weapons, as partners, as vehicles, as walls. Karalyn Star Pytel’s lighting design is the playful exclamation point, and Rachel Kras’ costumes are props themselves, draping the characters in their second skin as the strippers, priests, bridesmaids, demanding in-laws, and drunken bachelor party “bros” we are all too familiar with. These characters dance around one another to the beat of Hagerman’s powerful score, emphasizing these sins and meddling in the dancer’s private thoughts through Ammon’s challenging movements.

The piece is one of the more humorous of Wonderbound’s works, a stark contrast to the highbrow perception that sometimes accompanies ballet. As we transition out of wedding season and into the spookiness of autumn, you should treat yourself to witnessing this performance. The standing ovation after the opening show on Friday night speaks to the caliber of art in the Mile High City—one that’s important to patronize and savor as our boomtown continues to boom.

Catch It: Wonderbound performs The Seven Deadly Sins next weekend, Oct. 17–18 at the Parker Arts, Culture, & Events Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker. Tickets are $22–$50 and available at wonderbound.com or by calling 303-292-4700.

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