In 2007-2008, Colorado Ballet celebrates its 47th season of bringing world-class quality dance to Denver and to the state. As one of Colorado’s oldest and most successful arts institutions, Colorado Ballet is the only organization of its size and stature to produce classical ballet in the state.
Colorado Ballet is a nationally recognized regional dance company which was conceived qw a ballet school, founded in 1951 by Denver natives Freidann Parker and Lillian Covillo. To showcase their talented students, the life-long friends established Colorado Concert Ballet in 1961, which presented its very first production of THE NUTCRACKER at the Bonfils Theater in Denver to sell-out audiences.
“Our dream, at the time,” said Covillo, “was to have a company that was professional, so the dancers we were training didn’t have to go to other cities to find jobs.”
By 1978, Colorado Concert Ballet employed eight men and eight women, and had achieved full professional status. The board increased the annual budget to $100,000 and refined the company’s name. Colorado Ballet was born. In 1987, Parker and Covillo conducted a nationwide search, at their own expense, for a new artistic director. With their choice of Martin Fredmann, they changed the course of Colorado Ballet.
“It all began in our imagination and continued to grow and become reality,” Parker recalled just weeks before her death in 2002.
In response to the lagging economy in Denver, Colorado Ballet looked to an emerging national trend among dance companies and entered into an alliance with Tampa Ballet. Through shared expenses, the alliance enabled the companies to develop an excellent artistic product with reduced financial risk. By 1990, Colorado Ballet achieved greater financial stability and community recognition, so the alliance was discontinued to better enable future growth of the Denver company. The decision reestablished Colorado Ballet as a resident company.
Colorado Ballet is now one of the foremost arts organizations in the region. With a company of 31 professional dancers of national and international acclaim, 15 studio company dancers, a $6.6 million operating budget, an expansive repertoire, and the Academies of Colorado Ballet, Colorado Ballet is a highly regarded ballet company.
From the beauty of classical ballets to the debut of world premieres by internationally acclaimed choreographers, the current season brings with it a rich, challenging and diverse repertoire. The exhilarating repertoire is designed to keep the company vital, while enticing audiences to explore all aspects of dance.
Like all top dance companies, Colorado Ballet is in a continuous state of evolution, forever caught on the cusp between what it just was and what it is about to become.
In 2006-2007, Gil Boggs, a former American Ballet Theatre principal, began his tenure as artistic director of Colorado Ballet. Under his leadership, the company received some of the best critical reviews in its history and looks forward to many more exciting and inspired seasons.
The idea that was born more than 40 years ago in the hearts of Lillian Covillo and the late Freidann Parker continues to flourish as Colorado Ballet becomes one of the most ambitious choreographic showcases in the country.