The evolving art of contemporary ballet | VailDaily.com
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The evolving art of contemporary ballet

Leslie Brefeld
Special to the Daily
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BRECKENRIDGE Contemporary is the name of the game for the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.The Aspen-based dance companys artistic director Tom Mossbrucker said the troupe of 10 is classically-trained, but has a contemporary repertoire.And what is more contemporary than brand new performance pieces?The ballet recently commissioned four works by four different choreographers for this, its 10th anniversary season. Although they first considered bringing back favorites to mark the occasion, Mossbrucker realized it wasnt consistent with the groups style.The reason were successful is were always looking forward, he said.Two of the new pieces will be included in the Breckenridge programs, slated for Saturday and Sunday evening at the Riverwalk.Pointeoff, the first dance in the performance, was created by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo this year and includes four women and two men. Mossbrucker said commissioning the work from Elo was a coup of sorts for the company, as the artist is gaining in popularity and Mossbrucker suspects Elo will be harder to access in the future.He described Pointeoff as highly musical and complex to watch. Its the type of piece that if you try to follow it you probably wont like it, Mossbrucker said. Instead, he suggested letting the eye wander to see the patterns in the movements. Its one of those ballets that keeps unfolding and unfolding and unfolding and then its over.Two Have & Two Hold, the closing dance of the Breck performance, is another of the new works and was premiered in Aspen just a few weeks ago.

Mossbrucker said the choreographer, Dwight Rhoden, created the companys first piece in 1998, and the troupe has since used six of his ballets the most of any of the choreographers theyve commissioned. The dance focuses on relationships, with imagery showing a breaking apart and coming together. The couples of dancers use tables as props to convey the ideas.They help elevate some of the movement up to another level, Mossbrucker said. He said the tables are also used to represent metaphorical ideas such as laying it on the table or tableauing an issue. Each of the four couples play across the tables as if in negotiation.The relationships are fractured during the whole ballet, but finally in the end they do come together, he said.Between these two pieces, the weekend performances will also include the dark sans detour by choreographer Dominique Dumais. The company has performed the work several times and was chosen, according to Mossbrucker, as a way to show off the women in the company.The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet returns this weekend for its eighth performance in Breckenridge.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or lbrefeld@summitdaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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