Ballet MasterWorks

event April 3 - 12, 2020 place Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Presented by Denver Ballet Guild
Denver Ballet Guild Logo

To close the 2019/2020 season, Colorado Ballet presents monumental favorites in Ballet MasterWorks. Featuring In The Upper Room by choreographer Twyla Tharp, Petite Mort by Jiří Kylián and Theme and Variations by George Balanchine, this program showcases works that profoundly impacted the art form and remain central masterpieces of the 20th century ballet repertoire.

Total Runtime: 2hrs. 00min.

Friday, April 3, 2020 – 7:30pm
Saturday, April 4, 2020 – 2pm
Saturday, April 4, 2020 – 7:30pm
Sunday, April 5, 2020 – 2pm

Friday, April 10, 2020 – 7:30pm
Saturday, April 11, 2020 – 7:30pm
Sunday, April 12, 2020 – 2pm

Buy Tickets Online


This season’s Ballet MasterWorks program features three works that remain central masterpieces of the 20th century—and also top many dancers’ “bucket list” of ultimate works that challenge and inspire. “Just visualizing the opening of Petite Mort gives me chills when I think about it.” — Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer

We invite you to join us for Ballet MasterWorks in April 2020. Demonstrating supreme athleticism, elegance and versatility, this performance will send chills down your spine and give you a thrilling experience.

Theme and Variations Choreography by George Balanchine
“The ballet opens to reveal a corps of twelve women and a principal couple. As the ballet moves from variation to variation, the solo performances of the ballerina and her cavalier are interspersed among the corps performances.” (©The George Balanchine Trust) Set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in G major, the dancers move continuously throughout the entire work with a build-up in momentum that increases to the climactic finale, which showcases the entire cast of 26 dancers. Dancers often refer to Balanchine’s classical choreography as some of the most difficult in the classical repertoire.

Petite Mort Choreography by Jiří Kylián
Czech native Jiří Kylián, “one of the most influential choreographers of the last thirty years” (New York Times), created Petite Mort for the Nederlands Dans Theater to perform at the 1991 Salzburg Festival on the second centenary of Mozart’s death. Petite Mort, which means “small death,” serves as a euphemism for orgasm in French and Arabic. The work incorporates subtle sexual imagery, exploring the concept with characteristic wit, humor and eroticism. Set to Mozart’s most popular Piano Concertos Nos. 21 and 23, the choreography includes six men, six women and six fencing foils. The foils, manipulated by the dancers, act as dance partners and repeatedly show themselves as willful and indomitable as living partners. Kylián also playfully incorporates black silk baroque dresses. Like the fencing foils, the dresses transition between the roles of prop and partner. The dancers alternately wear, dance around and hide behind them. Petite Mort continues to inspire dancers and audiences across the globe and remains central in today’s ballet repertoire.

In The Upper Room Choreography by Twyla Tharp
Following a grueling year of touring, Tharp’s company took a year-long hiatus, reassembling in May 1986. The first new piece they performed was In The Upper Room. Tharp commissioned composer Philip Glass to create a new score. “The music hints at things, but I tried to leave a lot of space for the dance to happen,” states Glass, “In that way the dancers complete it, fill it in.” The choreography fuses a broad spectrum of movement into one vigorous vocabulary; boxing, tap dance, yoga, ballet and full-out sprinting are intertwined. The dancers must push through the difficult steps, intricate timing and aerobic demands of the choreography. The dancers appear and disappear through fog and lights designed by Jennifer Tipton. The costumes by Norma Kamali begin as black and white striped jumpsuits. As the piece progresses, the dancers shed layers of clothing, revealing bright red under-layers and sweaty skin. In The Upper Room synthesizes choreography, costumes, music and lighting into a transcendent experience for both audience and performers. It has become a central piece in the repertories of dance companies worldwide. — ©Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation

Buy Tickets Online

Return to Top of Page