This season's must-see lineup of music, film, theater, dance, and fine art in the Mile-High City.
Denver Fall Arts Preview
Not long ago, a cultural night out in Denver consisted of a trip to Paris on the Platte, where you might've found a goateed 20-year-old spouting poetry through cigarette smoke and the thick aroma of coffee. But in the last decade, the birth of new independent theater houses and art galleries; the expansion, renovation, and completion of our art museums; and the addition of daring programming from our go-to performance halls means that Denver now hums with top-tier local and visiting national exhibitions and productions. The creative landscape we've craved has finally arrived—and now is the time to get out and start experiencing it. As cooler weather pushes us inside, the local arts community cranks up its offerings. Read on for this season's must-see shows.
Robert Moses Kin Dance Co.
In the midst of the roiling American civil rights movement, poet Langston Hughes, playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and author James Baldwin sat down and talked about race—openly, honestly, and without even the thinnest coat of sugar. Hansberry criticized the superficial method with which white writers depicted blacks; Baldwin described the schism between being a writer and an African-American; and Hughes portrayed himself as a "propagandist." Their conversation—which San Francisco's Pacifica radio taped for posterity—raised questions of self-awareness as well as public perception. Years later, San Francisco-based choreographer Robert Moses heard the discussion and, inspired by its provocative social questions, went to work setting his almost-gymnastic choreography to the cadences of the interview. Biography, a larger-than-life dance that brings to light decades-old questions of race, is one of five pieces Moses will perform at the Newman Center this fall. Sept. 27, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., 303-871-6200, www.du.edu/newmancenter
21st Annual International Association of Blacks In Dance Conference
Legendary for her triumph over childhood heart disease and her meteoric rise in performing arts, Denver native Cleo Parker Robinson says she believes dance is a universal language. To wit, this year her local dance ensemble, which has been Denver's lighthouse for black dance for nearly four decades, will join groups from around the world to take part in the 21st Annual International Association of Blacks In Dance Conference. Troupes such as Philadelphia's Philadanco and Los Angeles' Lula Washington will make appearances in the Mile-High City during the conference, which will offer diverse performances that are open to the public. Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 303-295-1759
David Dorfman Dance This New York-based group performs Underground, a story about the fine line between activism and violence. Feb. 28, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 303-871-6200, www.du.edu/newmancenter
Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet Acclaimed choreographer and director of Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet Robert Sher-Machherndl performs a new offbeat but thoughtful ballet. Nov. 15, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 303-871-6200, www.lemonspongecake.org