ASFB in "Red Sweet" by Jorma Elo/Photo by Rosalie O'Connor
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is a relatively young company, but its stature in the dance world has grown quickly. As one of the country’s premiere commissioning organizations for new work, ASFB has established ongoing relationships with a number of choreographers. They include Nicolo Fonte and Jorma Elo, whose latest pieces frame the troupe’s upcoming performance Saturday night at Winspear Opera House. It’s the third time in seven years that ASFB has been part of the dance season put on by presenting organization TITAS.
I recently talked to artistic director Tom Mossbrucker about his group’s approach to dance, the way they select the choreographers they want to work with, their business model and their focus on beauty. My review of the show ran Sunday in The Dallas Morning News. Here’s Margaret Putnam’s take for Theater Jones.
Mossbrucker, a former Joffrey Ballet dancer, and executive director Jean-Philippe Malaty were recruited in 1996 by Aspen Ballet School founder Bebe Schweppe to start a company. In 2000, they expanded to a second home base in Santa Fe. The group puts on seasons in both cities and tours about 12 weeks a year, performing work by some of the best dance-makers in history, among them George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Martha Clarke, Lar Lubovitch, David Parsons, Laura Dean and Karole Armitage.
ASFB in "Chameleon" by Itzik Galili/Photo by Rosalie O'Connor
DFW Dance Blog: How would you describe the style of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet?
Mossbrucker: We’re a contemporary ballet company. The dancers are all classically trained. And the repertoire is contemporary based, so a little different from a modern company or a classical ballet company. I would describe it as contemporary dance.
The women are able to dance on pointe and many of our dances are performed on pointe, though we’re not doing any pointe work in Dallas. The choreographers we choose use a broad vocabulary, modern and ballet vocabulary.
DFWDB: The company is successful both artistically and financially, even in this down economy. Is it that you’re based in these two affluent communities that support the arts or is it something else?