Rockin' at the Ballet

Classic rock meets dance at the Wonderbound Dance Company this February.

A rock show isn’t usually a performance you watch at the ballet, but Denver choreographer Garrett Ammon set out to change that. Aimed to bring dance to a wider audience, he created the Rock Ballet. At Wonderbound, an American dance company of just 10 dancers, Ammon sought to reimagine the way most saw aspects of a typical ballet—with live music.

Denver supergroup, made up of the Chimney Choir and Ian Cooke Band, will bring the music of David Bowie and Queen to life starting February 13. Raised on six-foot high platforms above the dancers, Ammon is using theatrical lighting and rock performance lighting as a way to embrace the rock show ambience. Although the band is playing music of classic rockers, they’ll also add their own personal touch to the aesthetic.

The Rock Ballet is composed of three separate performances, two created by Ammon and originally performed years ago.

“Love of My Life,” originally created in 2007, features music from the band Queen and tells the story of a relationship between a mother and son. The supergroup will play tunes ranging from the ever-popular “We Are The Champions” to lesser-known works like, “It’s a Beautiful Day.” They’ll even play “Bohemian Raphsody” without any pre-recordings—a feat that Queen couldn’t even do. 
“It’s the first ballet I created in Denver,” Ammon says. “It’s a daring endeavor because people have such strong feelings tied to their music. But it’s an exciting way to dive into the community in a daring way.”

“An Occasional Dream,” originally created in 2008, features eight songs from David Bowie and tells a biblical story in an irreverent way. For example, in this work, God is portrayed as a woman. 
“We go from the creation of the universe to Jesus,” Ammon says. “We leave it for the audience to interpret it in their own way, as we created space for commentary on religion; like the relationship between God and the serpent.”

The opening work and world premiere, “Unbroken Sky,” features choreography by company artist and dancer Sarah Tallman.

Music, theater and dance-lovers alike can catch one of the five performances in the Denver area between February 13, 2016 and February 21, 2016 at Wonderbound.