Three Contemporary World Premieres

Performing arts organizations make their bread and butter offering tried and true audience favorites, but their artists thrive when challenged with new work that stretches prior boundaries. For the Colorado Ballet, this season's cutting edge production is Three Contemporary World Premieres, now running at the Paramount Theatre.

The pieces couldn't be more different, yet their diversity is part of the charm of the evening. Subtitled, From the Colorado Ballet, with Love, the company introduced their Valentine-themed program with Russian émigré Konstantin Uralsky's Rachmaninov Second.

Photo of Maria Mosina and Igor Vassin in the Rachmaninov Second
Maria Mosina and Igor Vassin
in the Rachmaninov Second
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The great piano concerto couldn't offer a more thrilling and romantic journey. Featuring the matchless Russian pair of Maria Mosina and Igor Vassin and five supporting couples, the piece relies principally on a classical vocabulary, highlighted with modern uses of fabric as scenery and props to echo the connections between the dancers.

The moods of the music personified by the dancers glide from dreamy and ethereal to light and hopeful, then physical and sexual to languid, continuing with a flourish of ethnic power and panache that turns nearly frantic at the end. The gradual deepening of affection expressed throughout and the sheer beauty of the adagio sostenuto (the 2nd movement) convincingly argue for a healthy future for this work.

Photo of Earth Tribe
Earth Tribe
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The second piece of the evening, Earth Tribe, choreographed by hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris, begins with the dancers, led by an MC, finding different rhythm cycles within a heavy beat. Unexpectedly, though, the music turns techno, and disconnectedness sets in, with the dancers looking past one another even as they interact and occasionally pair off, using a pared-down version of dance club movement to make a social statement on contemporary "Gothic" culture.

Photo of Vital Sensations
Vital Sensations
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Darrell Grand Moultrie's Vital Sensations finishes the evening with a rousing fusion of tropical influences underscored by Latin jazz. Adorned in bright, expressive costumes, the ensemble interacts playfully, with athletic sexuality during the first movement, then strips down to expressive and muscular basics in the second movement. This is followed by a captivating, desultory love story/dream sequence with Chauncey Parsons and Sayaka Karasugi, and culminates with an exuberant take on a Tito Puentes' piece, featuring Koichi Kubo.

Photo of Vital Sensations
Vital Sensations
Photo: Terry Shapiro
In what has become an annual presentation of new work, the Colorado Ballet continues to demonstrate why they are considered one of the most creative companies in America. Uralsky's and Moultrie's pieces will be among the works performed by the company in New York in early March.

Three Contemporary World Premieres: From the Colorado Ballet, with Love runs through February, 27th. 303-837-8888 or

Bob Bows


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