Aspen Santa Fe Ballet appears on Friday, March 11 and Saturday March 12 at 7:30pm in the Lensic Performing Arts center on 211 West San Francisco Street in Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe Loves Dance!

We all know that our Santa Fe Opera is heralded far and wide for the stunning summer performance season that rolls around each year in July. But did you know that Santa Fe also has a ballet troupe that gets better and better year by year?

Jiri Kylian’s Stamping Ground: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

In conjunction with Aspen, CO, another small town with big cultural aspirations, Aspen Santa Be Ballet has been bringing terrific dance to the City Different via a series of performances throughout the year.  Now well into its second decade, ASFB was founded in 1990 by Aspen resident, Bebe Schweppe, eventually evolving into a nationally-recognized ballet company and dance academy dedicated to developing local talent in the Southwest. The School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, with locations  in both Aspen, CO and Santa Fe, NM, currently provides classes in ballet, tap, and jazz for over 360 students, who might otherwise have to travel to another city for dance education at this level of excellence.  Under the able stewardship of Executive Director, Jean-Phillipe Malaty, and Artistic Director, Tom Mossbrucker, the company has become  a leader in terms of repertoire. ASFB’s mission of acquiring and commissioning work from top choreographers has been a distinct treat for dance lovers, and the performance schedule takes the company far and wide to showcase the talents of their hard-working troupe. And as repetitive as it must seem, they exhibit no reluctance about presenting classics like The Nutcracker, which enhances the Santa Fe holiday season each winter.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s Holiday Magic

Culturally-focused community outreach is also part of the ASFB standard, with their popular Mexican folklore program for young dancers, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico, offered to interested students in both school locations. In addition, ASFB welomes other illustrious dance companies to perform in Santa Fe. In recent years, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Paul Taylor Dance Company, MOMIX, Alvin Ailey Dance, Pilobolus and the hilarious farceurs, Les Ballets Trockadero, have all made the trek to the Lensic Performing Arts Center. On April 8, ASFB brings the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble of India for what will surely be a spellbinding evening of eastern dance; can’t wait for that one!

Coming April 8, 2011! Nrityagram Dance Ensemble

Spring is a season for new beginnings, and this weekend, on March 11 and 12, in celebration of their 15th anniversary season, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will debut two new ballets from choreographers Jiri Kylian and Nicolo Fonte in what should be a pair of a vibrant performances.  The company will present Kylian’s Stamping Ground, and a newly commissioned dance by Fonte also makes its Santa Fe premiere. Cayetano Soto‘s striking Uneven, with music by Maya Beiser, rounds out the program.  These are performances that dance lovers should not be miss, as the technical and expressionistic talents of the ASFB dancers seem to expand exponentially with each return engagement in Santa Fe. The company can be commended for its consistent commitment to commissioning and performing unusual work by both well-known and up-and-coming choreographers. This is an exemplary and even daring goal, in an economic climate that sometimes rewards conservative choices with higher ticket sales.

Cayetano Soto’s Uneven: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

If you like your music accompanied by supple movement, head for the Lensic this weekend, where your ticket purchase will buy you an evening of enjoyment and at the same time, will help keep this small and gutsy company safely grounded in the Southwest.

And if Santa Fe travel plans don’t materialize until the following weekend, dance lovers need not despair! Santa Fe’s own belly-dancing troupe, ably led by Myra Krien of Pomegranate Studios will present Invaders of the Heart 2011: Revelation at the James A. Little Theatre on Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19 at 7pm. 24 dancers, 90 costumes, 10 enormous ostrich feather fans, 3 parasols, a bird, a lion, and more….now THAT sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Invaders of the Heart: When It’s GOOD to Have a Sinuous Stomach!