Don’t we all need a little pixie dust in our lives? This year’s Colorado Ballet Gala responded with a resounding “Yes!” as guests experienced an elegant, whimsical evening capped by an excerpt from “Peter Pan.” Even the most cynical enjoyed their time in Neverland, transported to a time and place by talented performers who proved that children really could fly.

2020 Gala co-chairs Ford and Ann Frick (left), and Melanie and Brent Backes

This year’s gala began with a silent auction and glittering reception, courtesy of both decor and guest attire. Nearly 600 supporters enjoyed appetizers and beverages before being seated in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House Theater for a program that enlightened and entertained, and also involved guests in the process with wonderful donation options. The presentation began with “Alpenglow,” a performance by Colorado Ballet Academy dancers, followed by remarks onstage from gala co-chairs Melanie and Brent Backes, and Ann and Ford Frick. An excerpt from “Peter Pan,” performed by Colorado Ballet cast members, elicited audience applause and a little magic as dancers soared above the stage.

Retiring Principal Dancer Chandra Kuykendall and Gil Boggs, artistic director

Artistic Director Gil Boggs spoke and introduced Principal Dancer Chandra Kuykendall, retiring in April, who moved the crowd as she spoke sincerely about her 22 years with the Company. Energetic auctioneer Halie Behr urged guests onto higher bids during the live auction and special appeal. Partygoers were then seated for dinner in the Chambers Grant Salon and the Studio Loft. The evening concluded with the unique opportunity for guests to dance and sip bubbly on The Ellie Stage.

(l to r): Lorraine Salazar, Dianne Bartlett, Terri Fisher, Jan Hammond, Nancy Hemming and Susan Stiff

Each year, Colorado Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement programs bring dance workshops, assemblies and performances to tens of thousands of children across Colorado’s Front Range and beyond, introducing them to the beauty, grace and physicality of dance. Colorado Ballet remains committed to making dance accessible to all populations, regardless of socio-economic background or mental and physical abilities.

The Raydean Acevedo Colorado Ballet Academy offers classes from toddler to pre-professional, and serves as a community resource that gives children the opportunity to train and dance with a premier professional company. Nearly $200,000 is given annual in both need-based and merit-based scholarships. To learn more about the Colorado Ballet, please visit