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Dazzling dancers put ballet touch to cocktails theme

New York City troupe will make appearance at Boulder venue


Just as interest in cocktails has expanded across the nation, a related entertainment feature, “Cocktail Hour: The Show,” has increased its menu. The New York City-based Ballets With a Twist Company will appear at 7:30 p.m. on June 23 at Boulder’s historic Chautauqua Auditorium for a pop-infused production with a dozen dancers, a dazzling wardrobe of costumes and music composed especially for the show. Choreographer Marilyn Klaus said her dancers will love Chautauqua’s big stage.

Boilermaker, Bloody Mary, Caipirinha, Manhattan, Margarita, Rum Runner, Singapore Sling … What will you have? The menu of cocktails has expanded for the company. “At first, there were only nine, but now there are 26 and I’m making a new one that will premiere next season,” said veteran choreographer Klaus, who is developing “Hot Toddy.”

Her longtime team includes composer Stephen Gaboury and costume designer Catherine Zehr (who makes all the costumes). Klaus started the company in 1996, when she was still performing and had a school as well — and it has been performing and building a collection of colorful vignettes since then. “We can do two full shows without duplicating,” Klaus said.

One company member, Seth Ives, has local origins. He attended Denver School of the Arts in 2010 as a dance major (including ballet classes outside of DSA) and was a Bolshoi summer intern at 16. He then spent two years training with Bolshoi in Moscow. The training is slower and “so detailed about how you work the body properly,” he said. It’s serious business — “they don’t mess around!” he added, describing a teacher who filed her fingernails really sharp “so she could pinch my butt!” He next danced professionally in New York and joined this company in January 2016.

When Klaus brings a new dancer into the company, “they come to rehearsal to see how they work with the company,” she said. Ives rehearsed for a month and went on tour — and has stayed.

When they tour, huge boxes of costumes and props are sent two weeks in advance — and costumes, head pieces, shoes, etc. are arranged and organized. A wardrobe mistress travels with them — or sometimes they hire a local person … And sometimes local dancers participate. The “Mint Julep” number, done especially for Kentucky Derby, includes little horses, or there’s a marching band with “Brandy Alexander.” Klaus sometimes teaches a class in addition to performances, but outreach is not part of the Boulder visit.

During the summer, the company will be making musical videos of different ballets at new sites in New York. (Example: “Boilermaker” in a bar.) Then, in the fall, the company begins touring: Oregon, Illinois, Washington state, Georgia, Florida … and more.

If you go

“Cocktail Hour: the Show” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. June 23 at Boulder’s historic Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder. Tickets cost $30: 303-440-7666 or chautauqua.com. Appropriate for all ages.


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