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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Giffin, Glenn
Regionalization of dance: [dance in the Rocky Mountain region],   pp. 312-[315] PDF (3.6 MB)

Page 312

by Glenn Giffin
Dance critic for the Denver Post.
The thing about Colorado and the whole
Rocky Mountain region when it comes to
dance is that there is a history of dance here
and a more active continuity than one might
suspect. Lola Montez and the American West
can be documented (if memory serves, she
visited Leadville, Colorado-but maybe not).
But I suppose it all depends on what one
means by the terribly general term "dance."
Ballet? Modern? Ethnic? Ballroom? Social?
Free form? Improvised? Your questionnaire
seems to indicate theatrical dance, the kind
one pays admission to see.
Even on that basis there's a lot. The influ-
ences just in Colorado are many and varied.
Doris Humphrey often taught summers in
Greeley and in Steamboat Springs. Her mark
continues in that dance is still part of the
activity of both communities. (One of the very
last choreographic activities of Jose Limon,
her great pupil, was for the Santa Fe Opera
and its production of Villa-Lobos' opera
Yerma.) Hanya Holm has been teaching sum-
mers at Colorado College in Colorado Springs
for the past twenty odd years. Her approach
is a tangible link to the late Mary Wigman.
More importantly to be considered are the
growing resident companies. Cleo Parker
Robinson has been very active in the past
several years creating a black dance troupe.
Its emphasis goes to such figures as Alvin
Ailey, Eleo Pomare, et al. Mrs. Robinson
actively encourages this outlook through
master classes with, most recently, Pomare,
but also with Jason Taylor and the late
Manzell Senters. Others are scheduled.
Another resident Denver company is the
Gloria Winbur Dancers, more in the Murray
Louis bag.
Ballet continues to be a popular spectacle,
when the big companies come through, but
this technique has a very hard struggle trying
to become professional in Colorado. There Is
at present no company that is not studio
based. None of them can support a profes-
sional dancer, but they do try. The Colorado
Concert Ballet does Giselle and creditably-
but Ballet Theatre does it better. The Denver
Civic Ballet stays in existence solely by doing
The Nutcracker every Christmas.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Divide,
Salt Lake City has two very good companies:
Repertory Dance Theatre and Ballet West,
both of which tour Colorado. Why a self-
supporting company cannot get started in
Denver continues to amaze.

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