Made in the U.S.A.
Each spring, after a season of classical repertoire, Martin Friedman, the artistic director of the Colorado Ballet, gives his dancers the opportunity to cut loose with a variety of modern work. Their current production entitled, Made in the U.S.A. is, as suggested, a series of dances based entirely on the music of American composers.
The first third of the program, Jam Nation, is a vibrant, upbeat, jazzy series of dances choreographed by the award winning national treasure Donald McKayle. The piece, which premiered last November in California, swings to the likes of Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Antionio Carlos Jobin, and Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grapelli. The dances range from hop to seductive cabaret numbers, from sleek rumbas to exuberant jitterbugs and flapper Charlestons, and feature a charming Hot Club of France pas de deux with Maria Mosina and Sasha Kozadayev.
The second third of the program, choreographed by James Wallace with assists from some of the dancers in the company, explores Samuel Barber's edgy Concerto for Violoncello. It's entitled Inversion, which describes some of the yoga-like movements, and combines ballet, modern and jazz in a highly stylized, moody piece.
Finally, George Balanchine's punchy, militaristic Stars and Stripes set to a medley of John Phillip Sousa's marches, including a demanding pas de deux by favorites Sharon Wehner and Koichi Kubo, provided a rousing conclusion.
Once again, the depth of the company is exhibited by the variety and demands of the repertoire and earned a lengthy standing ovation and numerous curtain calls to close a marvelous 40th season. The Colorado Ballet's Made in the U.S.A. plays through May 6th. 303-830-TIXS or at www.coloradoballet.org.