A choreographer’s delight

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By The Staff

The spotlight is loving the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. The company is dancing into the forefront of the ballet world with its upcoming performance.

Each of the ballets offers something special for the audience. Famous choreographer Twlya Tharp choreographed the piece, “Sue’s Leg,” which launched her career.

Jennica Lundin, director of marketing at the ballet company, said no other company is currently performing the piece and Tharp hand-selected the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to dance her ballet.

Lundin described the piece as having a “Harlem Renaissance feel to it.”  Dancers will perform to the music of Thomas “Fats” Waller.

According to a press release, in 1965 Tharp formed Twyla Tharp Dance (TTD), creating 80 pieces and when TTD merged with American Ballet Theatre, she created more than a dozen works. Tharp also choreographed for Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, NYC Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, MarthaGraham Company and others.

She has also worked on Broadway, choreographing for “When We Were Very Young,” “The Catherine Wheel, “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Movin’ Up.”

“Movin’ Up” earned Tharp a Tony Award, Astaire Award, Drama League Award for Sustained Achievement in Musical Theatre, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography.

Spanish choreographer Cayetano Soto will premiere his ballet, “Fugaz,” in the U.S. with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

Soto, the press release reports, was born in Spain in 1975. He started his dance education in his hometown of Barcelona at the Instituto del Teatro and continued his studies at the Royal Conservatorium in Den Haag. After receiving his degree, Soto danced with IT Dansa in Barcelona before joining the Ballet Theater Munich a year later. There he created several successful ballets for the company.

Soto has gone on to create “Cotidiano” for the Festival Internazionale di Danza in Venice, Italy and “24FPS” for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, which won the Hapag Lloyd prize in April 2006.

His first full evening ballet was a new “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which premiered in July 2006 in Lübeck and in November 2006 in Schwerin.

William Forsythe’s “Slingerland,” will also be featured in the show.

Forsythe, the press release states, is widely considered one of the most important dance artists of today, on par with such giants in the dance world as George Balanchine.

 A revolutionary thinker and artistic provocateur, Forsythe has set new standards internationally for ballet and modern dance companies alike.

The final piece, “Red Sweet,” is by a favorite choreographer at the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Jorma Elo.

In just a few short years, Finnish-born Jorma Elo has become one of the most sought-after choreographers in the U.S. and Europe, according to the press release.

Elo, who was named Resident Choreographer of Boston Ballet in 2005, was singled out as a “talent to follow” by Anna Kisselgoff in her 2004 Year in Review for The New York Times.

Since then Elo has created new works for New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Royal Danish Ballet, State Theatre Nuremberg and Norwegian National Ballet. Elo trained with the Finnish National Ballet School and the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad.

How does this ballet company attract so many big name choreographers?

Lundin said she believes the answer is that the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is a smaller company and it is very selective of what works to perform. It doesn’t stick to a pattern.

“(We’re) just a little more unique,” she said. “I think choreographers really like that about us.”

Additionally to have new work such as Soto’s ballet featured at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is a great opportunity.

“It’s just exciting to bring in new talent,” Lundin said.

Also to have established, well-respected choreographers such as Tharp bring their work to the ballet company is a plus, she said. “(It’s) just an honor that she would consider Aspen Santa Fe Ballet to be of the caliber to execute her pieces well,” Lundin said.

The show will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 10-11 at The Lensic in Santa Fe. Tickets cost $20-$62. For tickets, call 505-988-1234.