Like the song says, “everything is beautiful at the ballet,” and it was epitomized by this year’s Colorado Ballet Firebird Gala. Moving dance performances, colorful décor, a sincere tribute to artistic director Gil Boggs, sumptuous food and beverages, and after-dinner dancing onstage at Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Each is a distinctive experience on its own. But everything combined into one evening? It was a fundraiser to remember.
The evening began with a cocktail reception at Chambers Grant Salon, before guests took their seats inside the theatre. There, after a short welcome from Boggs and Mayor Michael Hancock, they were treated to the dancing talent of Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov with Firebird Pas de Deux. Their lyrical performance was a bittersweet moment, as both confirmed onstage afterward that this is their last year. The anticipated debut of ARROW Five Years Out followed, as 10 dynamic dancers performed the work choreographed by Sandra Brown.
Gala chair Denise Sanderson presided over a tribute to Boggs, honoring his first 10 years of guiding the success and growth of the Colorado Ballet as artistic director. Boggs was surprised onstage by family members from Atlanta, who traveled to Denver for the gala. A live auction, run by Doug Tisdale, included unique items such as a private dinner for 10 prepared by renowned Denver chef Frank Bonanno, as well as a stunning portrait of Maria Mosina, created by Darrell Anderson. After a paddle raise featuring generous donors, guests adjourned outside for a sumptuous dinner prepared by Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House. The evening ended with dancing on the Ellie stage with DJ Larry.
Gala chair Sanderson wrote: “Many of our dancers’ careers have been made possible through scholarship opportunities that allowed them to pursue their dreams to become professional dancers. Increased support of our Academy Scholarship Fund will help the next generation of dancers reach their potential as well.
With the mission of Every.Body.Dance, Colorado Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement department is our hidden gem. Far-ranging programs serve in-need students, teachers, families, people with disabilities and lifelong learners in Colorado. Student matinees have always been one of my favorites – imagine the Ellie Caulkins Opera House filled with 2,000 energetic and excited students, many of whom are experiencing their first live performance. One first-grade student commented to his teacher: “This is way better than TV!”
For schools that lack funds for transportation or that are located in rural areas precluding a field trip to Denver, Colorado Ballet has begun an innovative program to live stream performances directly to the classroom, thereby removing barriers to experiencing the arts.
Increasing the capacity of community engagement and opportunities for Academy students to be supported by scholarships are two ways Colorado Ballet is planning for the future – Five Years Out, as ARROW says. I hope you will reach deep and support these outstanding programs…” For more information on the Colorado Ballet, its programs and donor opportunities, please visit: ColoradoBallet.org.