The 5280 Fall Arts and Entertainment Guide

A closer look at some of the most innovative artistic minds in the Front Range.

November 2009

Beside the Pointe

Ballet Nouveau Colorado's artistic director pushes dance beyond tutus and tradition.

Ballet Nouveau Colorado's Garrett Ammon's brought his contemporary artistic vision from Memphis to Denver two years ago because he saw an ideal city in which to test people's perception of ballet. The result? Performances such as this month's Intersection (Nov. 1 at the Lakewood Cultural Center; Nov. 6-8 at the Performing Arts Complex at PCS, Federal Heights), a collaboration with the Lighthouse Writers Workshop that blends words with dance. Here, 5280 gets Ammon's take on the "philosophy nouveau" and a peek at the upcoming show.

So, is this actually ballet?
In the entire company we have 12 professional dancers, all classically trained. We take rules, guidelines, and structures and look for new ways to bend them. To [uninitiated] viewers, it might not look like ballet. We've stripped away traditional expectations. We like to think of it as getting down to the core.

Was it difficult to sell something so avant-garde in Denver?
Most Denverites don't give themselves enough credit. I've been incredibly impressed by the wide array of art here. This city is growing into one of the most important centers for cultural exploration in the country.

Tell us about Intersection.
It explores a young man who inexplicably leaves his world, not knowing where he'd been or who he is. We're going to be merging poetry and dance, and we're working on putting in some projection work—very multimedia. But we'll continue to focus on dance itself. I want people to see how much dance can touch, move, and inspire us.

Intersection (November 1), Lakewood Cultural Center; (November 6-8) Performing Arts Complex at PCS, Federal Heights, $16-$42, www.bncdance.org