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Niwot High hosts the Centennial State Ballet for spring performance of Don Quixote


April 27, 2022

Amanda Tipton Photography

Five seniors are part of the Don Quixote ensemble this year: Reese R., Deb H., Abby S., Hannah N. and Lillian V

The air was electric at the Longmont Dance Theater. Dancers flitted about the studio, chatting, practicing their moves, and making sure everything was ready for rehearsal. Clap, clap, clap–Executive Artistic Director Kristin Kingsley called the dancers to attention, made a few announcements, and the dancing began.

"It's a lot of fun," said Apex high school junior Caroline Martin, grinning. "There's so much good energy and a lot of really wonderful dancing and talented dancers."

That's the type of excitement coming to the Niwot High School auditorium this weekend. The Centennial State Ballet (CSB) will be bringing the classic Miguel Cervantes' story Don Quixote to life with performances at Niwot High School on April 30 at 2 p.m. and on May 1 at 1 p.m.. In the words of Kingsley, the performance is "a romantic comedy full of explosive dancing with very technical choreography for all ages."

This year's Spring Gala performance of Don Quixote is also exciting because is part of CSB's season of celebrations, marking the company's 10th anniversary. For the past ten years, CSB has been a nonprofit that's passionate about bringing the arts to the community. Kingsley and her team pride themselves on their bringing a pre-professional experience to the youth dancers–whether it's through costumes, choreography or the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals and guest performers.

Don Quixote features two guests: CSB alum Mendel Boothby and California-based Andrew Luke Martinez. CSB is also excited to have live music once more, with pianist Alaina DeBellevue providing accompaniment. Throughout the pandemic, the company has used recordings from local musicians, but is shifting back to more in-person performances.

In addition to the guest performers, CSB has volunteer performers, like Ray Martin, who help bring the story to life. "I'm not much of a dancer," Martin chuckled. "I started performing with my daughter [Caroline] and it's kind of been a bonding experience."

Kingsley explained that community is central to CSB. She loves that she's able to provide a variety of opportunities to the dancers, coaching and collaborating with them rather than simply directing the dancers. She expressed the desire to empower them, and to help them empower each other.

For example, having a variety of dancers in age groups ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade is invaluable since it promotes community building. The experienced dancers are able to mentor the younger ones and help them develop their skills.

"Ballet is a very serious art form," Niwot High junior Marie Hefley said. "You have to remember why you dance, why it's fun." For her, ballet is exciting because of the opportunities for both artistic and athletic expression. Specifically, she loves the uplifting spirit of Don Quixote and looks forward to being part of the production this weekend. "I hope [our energy] reaches the audience as well."

CSB's Don Quixote will have tickets on sale on their website for the two in-person performances, and livestream tickets will also be available. More information can be found at: https://centennialstateballet.org/performances/don-quixote


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