‘Great Galloping Gottschalk’

Posted 9/2/09

When Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs planned a program centered on Colorado’s heritage in the arts, he decided to begin with Lynne …

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‘Great Galloping Gottschalk’


When Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs planned a program centered on Colorado’s heritage in the arts, he decided to begin with Lynne Taylor Corbett’s “Great Galloping Gottschalk.”

Taylor-Corbett is a Littleton High graduate, an award-winning director and choreographer, who works internationally. Boggs and Taylor-Corbett are longtime friends through American Ballet Theatre, she said.

She originally choreographed this light-hearted work for Mikhail Baryshnikov at American Ballet Theatre in 1982, set to music by 19th century American composer/pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

She laughs, recalling her conversation with the great Russian dancer, who became artistic director of the ABT after his amazing dance career. She had a commission to create a new work and no particular idea what it should look like, so she asked for his suggestion. He just said “just do next ballet” by way of guidance! She was wandering in a record store when the bright cover of a recording of piano music by Gottschalk caught her attention and the music stayed with her.

She contacted composer/friend and previous collaborator Victoria Bond to orchestrate the music and “Great Galloping Gottschalk” premiered in Miami.

There are six piano pieces, which will be played on two pianos. (Appropriate since Gottschalk, a rock star sort of entertainer in his time, used to tour the east coast by train, with his piano in tow). Taylor-Corbett says there are 17 dancers involved in this fairly complicated piece.

She was in Denver for a week early in August to “set the piece” on Colorado Ballet’s dancers, then left Jeffrey Gribler, her official Great Galloping Gottshalk interpreter to continue work with the dancers while she headed to China to mount a new work with an American dance company related to the Great Wall of China. Gribler is a longtime dancer with Philadelphia Ballet, who retired and is ballet master there.

“All Pointes West,” the start-up of Colorado Ballet’s 2009-10 season, opens with “Great Galloping Gottschalk,“ followed by two excerpts: from Marius Petipa‘s “Sleeping Beauty” and Dwight Rhoden’s “Ave Maria.” Agnes de Mille’s ever-popular “Rodeo,” set to Aaron Copland’s score, will conclude the program.

Boggs, who just signed a five year renewed contract, announced the 2009-10 season, including “Don Quixote” in October; “The Nutcracker” in November/December; “Beauty and the Beast” in February and a mixed program that will include a world premier by New York choreographer Brian Reeder, Anthony Tudor’s “Echoing of Trumpets” and Lila York’s popular “Celts.”

Some young dancers in “The Nutcracker” will come from the south area’s Academy of Colorado Ballet, in its new five studio location at 4181 County Line Road, Centennial. For information, visit www.coloradoballet.org, or call 303-221-1722.

If you go:

“All Pointes West,” . Colorado Ballet performances: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, Sept. 12; 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Newman Center, East Iliff Avenue at South University Boulevard, University of Denver. Tickets: $19 to $109, 303-837-8888, www.coloradoballet.org.


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