Believe in The Colorado Ballet’s ‘Peter Pan’
There was a moment so magical in the second act of The Colorado Ballet’s Peter Pan, I had shivers. Neverland wasn’t just on stage. It extended into the audience, weaving around chairs and up into the balconies.
Everyone is familiar with the J.M. Barrie masterpiece (and the Disney movie.) Peter Pan is the beloved tale of a boy who would not grow up, a girl who would be mother to lost boys, a Captain, a crocodile, and a spirited fairy named Tinkerbell. Recently, Peter Pan was freshly adapted for the ballet. It had its world premiere in Milwaukee in 2010 and now the spritely boy is flying high over Denver. The art of ballet seems like a natural step to take in sharing the classic. When mixing professional dance, music, and artistry, the storytelling possibilities are endless.
My daughter and I attended an evening performance of Peter Pan at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. She is in high school and it was a delight watching her take in the soaring splendor of the auditorium. It brought out the little kid inside. She asked if she could look in the orchestra pit to watch the musicians warm up. When the lights went down, we settled in for three acts of stellar dancing, eye-candy costumes, and a lot of laughs.
Can ballet be funny and accessible to families who might not be regular attendees of the ballet? The Artistic Director, Gil Boggs, must have had a blast coming to work every day because the little touches made the night for us. The crocodile marched with his tell-tale tick-tock. Captain Hook and his band of silly-surly pirates made merry. Beautiful Indian braves danced with serious grace. Tinkerbell sparkled and glowed, and Peter and the Darling children soared high into the air. Every time they rose, people in the audience gasped and clapped because it was so seamless. I mentioned the quietly lovely, purely magical moment in the second act. Nearly everyone in the audience was given a special fairy-saving wand that we lit up and waved at the precise moment it was needed the most. Save Tinkerbell! When you go, make sure you look around because it is a sight you’ll never forget.
The dancers did a great job, perfectly cast and exuding enthusiasm for the story. The evocative and energetic choreography was created by Michael Pink, who also did Dracula, a Denver Halloween ballet tradition. My daughter and I agreed they’re all talented, but her favorite performance of the night was Tiger Lily, danced by crazy-talented Asuka Sasaki.
Peter Pan is broken into three acts with intermissions. If you take your kids, be aware it is a long performance. Snacks and drinks are available in the lobby, along with a gift shop so you can outfit your own little Pan with a jaunty green hat. The littlest kids in the audience were squirmy by the end. We saw a sweet little girl nodding off as we exited the building, being steered by her shoulders. Kids over 8 should be okay, especially for the matinee performances.
The Colorado Ballet’s Peter Pan is currently soaring in the rafters of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, located at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Performances will run through March 4, 2012, with evening and matinee show times. To purchase tickets or for more information about Peter Pan or exciting upcoming events at The Colorado Ballet, visit their website.
(images courtesy of The Colorado Ballet, photographer © Terry Shapiro)