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Peter Pan

Our eyes still light up at the mention of Peter Pan, after all, he was the one who taught us we could fly if we just believed! Amazingly, after all these years, the boy who wouldn't grow up still hasn't grown up—thank goodness!

(Left to right) Sean Omandam as John, Casey Dalton as Michael, Adam Still as Peter, and Shelby Dyer as Wendy
(L to R) Sean Omandam as John,
Casey Dalton as Michael,
Adam Still as Peter, and Shelby Dyer as Wendy
Photo: Terry Shapiro
This wonderful production, from choreographer Michael Pink and composer Philip Feeney (who previously collaborated to create the ever-popular Dracula), which made its world premiere in 2010 at the Milwaukee Ballet, is full of magic, beginning with the seamless integration of the dance and flying elements. Picture a flurry of lights percolating around the children's quarters of the Darling house and then—poof!—Tinkerbell (Sharon Wehner) suddenly appears out of nowhere.

Alexei Tyukov as Captain Hook and ensemble
Alexei Tyukov as Captain Hook and ensemble
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Moments later, Peter (Adam Still) flies in the window, dances throughout the room, and then effortlessly alights on shelves and furniture. This is one of those productions where sitting a little further back, where the wires are harder to see, adds to the wonder.

The adaptation of any story (Peter Pan was a stage play before it was a book) into a ballet is always a test of the clarity of the emotional through line, and J.M Barrie's masterpiece passes with flying (double-entendre intended) colors. The rewarding moments follow one after the other: the magical entrance of Tink and Peter; the delight when the Darling children (Shelby Dyer, Sean Omandam, and Casey Dalton) stay airborne; the dogged loyalty of Nana (Naomi Hergott); the impressive journey to Neverland, over St. Paul's Cathedral and Big Ben; the Johnny Depp-like self-possession of Captain Hook (Alexei Tyukov); the exotic artistry of Tiger Lily (Asuka Sasaki) and her braves (my favorite costumes, by Judanna Lynn); the scary yet fun alligator; and the fabulous sets (Rick Graham), particulary the tripartite pirate ship, which is arranged in multiple combinations, each revealing different cutaways of the hull, hold, quarters, and decks.

The alligator
The alligator
Photo: Terry Shapiro
To top it off, the audience, a high percentage of whom are children, are furnished with magic light-wands that they employ to bring Tinker Bell back to life after she drinks poison to save Peter's life.

Adam Flatt and the ballet orchestra bring forth the full range of emotional color in Philip Feeney's score, the shadings of which are echoed in David Grill's lighting palette.

The Colorado Ballet's Peter Pan runs through March 4th. 303-893-4100 or www.coloradoballet.org.

Bob Bows

 

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