Feature: Ballet / Ballet - General

Ballet - General
dance.net interviews Gil Boggs of the Colorado Ballet about their upcoming Ballet Masterworks
By jaime Comments: 13, member since Sun Mar 07, 1999
On Tue Feb 14, 2017 01:22 PM

Walking into Colorado Ballet feels like entering a very special world. The building itself has only been home to the company for a few years, but there's a sense of history here. Dance.net recently had the opportunity to interview Colorado Ballet's Artistic Director, Gil Boggs, about their upcoming performance Ballet Masterworks. It consists of three ballets: Firebird, Serenade, and Petite Mort. Firebird will send off Maria Mosina, who's retiring from Colorado Ballet after 21 years. Mr. Boggs emphasized the diversity of the three offerings, and his pride in Colorado Ballet’s dancers is evident as he beams about how this performance will show off their “versatility, their ability, their technique, their acting,” adding that “everything about the dancers in this company are spectacular!”   

Having danced with American Ballet Theatre for 17 years, Mr. Boggs is certainly one who knows how to spot talent and put on a stunning show. He can attest to the passion with which the performers rehearse, and has some very practical advice for dancers, rooted in his own professional journey. "Every day you have to apply yourself. You have to work hard, you have to work at your technique. You have to understand what your weaknesses are, and you have to fix those. But when you’re doing that, if you’re not enjoying it, then I think you have to walk away from it. You have to enjoy the process every day.” In fact, that’s precisely how Gil knew it was time to retire - as he describes with a heartfelt smile, once he found himself in a battle over getting up and going to ballet class and rehearsals, he took it as a signaling of the end for his dancing career. 

Gil laughs when asked if he always aspired to be an Artistic Director, answering with a resounding, “No!” Yet, his love for this role is evident in his 11th year at Colorado Ballet, as he describes the inspiration gained in the beginning of the creation process, and watching the dancers master each step for the different ballets. His own dancing career with ABT greatly influenced his work today by training his eye for what should be on stage and what the ballets should look like. Even the more hidden aspects such as “getting characterization out of dancers” fall under the scope of his leadership.    

Gil was also kind enough to indulge a question so often asked by members on Dance.net: “What about girls who don’t have the ‘right' body type"? And with the wisdom of someone who’s been in this business a very long time, he said, “Everybody’s different. And every Artistic Director is looking for something different...It may take you awhile to find your niche in this business, but don’t be defeated by your body.”     

How fitting then, that Dance.net was at Colorado Ballet for the Petite Mort rehearsal. The energy in the room for this ballet is dynamic. It’s the first barefoot ballet for the company’s dancers and Gil described them as “giddy” when he first announced last year that they would be performing it. The beginning of Petite Mort is tense, with the precise choreography involving swords. Gil mentions that during the show, the audience may notice the intricate timing, particularly at the beginning where the men have their swords balanced on one finger and the following two minutes are danced in unison and silence. Also noteworthy is the pas de deux interplay between the men and women. Combine Petite Mort with Serenade, the beloved ballet with beautiful unison and technically challenging jumps and turns - along with Firebird’s orchestral accompaniment of Stravinsky’s music -  and an evening spent watching these masterpieces promises to be very inspiring.  

The Ballet Masterworks performance will be accompanied by live music from the Colorado Ballet Orchestra at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The show begins February 17, 2017 and goes through February 26th. Visit ColoradoBallet.org or Ballet Masterworks to learn more and purchase tickets.  

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