Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet weaves European sensibility with American ebullience.

Acclaimed American dance company Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (ASFB) will make a welcome return to the Bankhead Theater on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 3, with a diverse program that celebrates the company’s innovative and sophisticated style. For more than 20 years, ASFB has fulfilled its deep commitment to pushing the boundaries of contemporary dance, cultivating top choreographic talent to create groundbreaking new works.

The performance takes place at 3 p.m. at the Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., in downtown Livermore. Tickets range from $20 to $95.

The ASFB program will span a range of moods and styles. The first, “Where We Left Off,” choreographed by Nicolo Fonte, was commissioned in 2011 and is set to the music of Philip Glass. The work is lyrical and graceful, with constantly-shifting combinations of dancers moving fluidly from one tempo to another. Fonte described the piece saying, “It’s about the dancing and the dancers — what it means to dance alone, together, to dance as part of a group.”

Fonte’s work will be followed by “Dream Play,” by Fernando Melo with co-creator Shumpei Nemoto. It is set to the music of Erik Satie and Frederic Chopin. Melo invites audiences to “experience a constant shift of perspective between the whimsical world created by the artists and the raw process that generates its animation. The creative process and the development of the physical vocabulary was a collective act in which all parties involved proposed ideas and solutions.”

The final piece will be “1st Flash,” by Jorma Elo, an acclaimed work that ASFB has previously performed at the Bankhead. Imaginative and sensual, Elo’s 1st Flash juxtaposes, in sometimes unexpected ways, the lush and romantic music of Jean Sibelius’ “Violin Concerto in D minor,” with highly-physical, modern dance movements. Originally premiered in 2003, Elo reset the piece for ASFB several years later, incorporating a collaboration of ideas and perspectives that resulted in a new and inspiring interpretation of his initial work.

Founded in 1996, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's bold vision, bringing together top global choreographers, distinctive groundbreaking works and virtuoso dancers, has fostered a jewel of a dance company in the American West. ASFB is known for its adventurous repertoire, which represents the best of contemporary-classical dance, and projects both a European sensibility and an exhilarating American style. The company’s dancers demonstrate a powerful athleticism and lyrical grace that has helped build ASFB’s national reputation with prestigious engagements at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap and Center for the Performing Arts, as well as on tour worldwide.

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