Denver dance company comes to Carbondale for performances, workshop |

Denver dance company comes to Carbondale for performances, workshop

Jessica Cabe
Denver dance company Control Group Productions will perform at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Launchpad as part of Dance Initiative's new artist in residence program. Patrick Mueller
RJ Hooker |

If You Go...

Who: Dance Initiative, Control Group Productions and Patrick Mueller

What: Performances and workshop

When: Performances at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, workshop from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday

Where: The Launchpad

How Much: Performances and workshop registration are $10 each

Deb Colley, associate director of the Carbondale non-profit Dance Initiative, sees a hole that needs to be filled in the valley’s art scene and finally has the means to start filling it.

“The mission of Dance Initiative is to provide support to serious dancers in the Roaring Fork Valley who need professional and artistic development,” she said. “We have a lot of arts going on, but we don’t have a lot of resources for dancers to be developing.”

Dance Initiative does use grant money to send local dancers elsewhere for training, but Colley wants to reverse that model by bringing high-profile regional and national dancers here.

Colley has wanted an artist in residence program through Dance Initiative since its founding in 2009, but the organization hasn’t had the resources to bring it to fruition until now.

“We just haven’t had a space to hold the residency,” Colley said. “So now that we’re at the Launchpad, we started putting it together in November and December, and we’re making it happen this year.”

The program in 2015 features a national, regional and special local choreographer who will create original work, hold open rehearsals and share their pieces with the community through performances. The first residency kicks off on Friday with Patrick Mueller and Control Group Productions (CGP) of Denver. Mueller, the founder and artistic director of CGP, will be working with Carbondale’s contemporary dance company CoMotion over a three-month period with a public presentation of his work on June 6. But first, he will introduce himself with two CGP performances on Friday and a workshop in modern dance on Saturday. The Launchpad will comfortably hold 60-75 people for performances and about 15 people for the workshop, Colley said.

On Friday, CGP will perform excerpts from their latest piece, “CREATION (re-creation).” The dance uses multimedia elements, like digital installation and interaction with iPads. Mueller said the inspiration behind it was the dichotomy between artistic creation and biological creation. After his 16-month-old son was born, he grappled with the differences between intentional creation like he experiences in a dance studio and the almost arbitrary, primal creation of human life.

“Patrick’s work is really, really content-driven,” Colley said. “He’s always taking on some sort of environmental or social justice issue.”

Mueller emphasizes that his work is about content, not message. He may not inspire audiences to completely shift positions on an issue, but he can use art to share different perspectives.

“My position on art and social justice is based on the assumption that I’m not going to reach the people I disagree with,” he said. “What I think is possible in art is being content-driven, not message-driven. What art allows us to do is climb inside a perspective and embody it. Art plays a really crucial role in giving people a new viewpoint.”

Mueller has led workshops for Dance Initiative in the past, and he said he was “honored and excited” when he was asked to be the organization’s first artist in residence. He said he and Peter Gilbert, founder and director of Dance Initiative, met about three years ago and were “kindred spirits.” CGP, like Dance Initiative, is interested in building a community of dancers throughout the state and putting Denver on the map as a place for great dance.

“He saw we’re doing the same thing,” Mueller said of Gilbert. “It’s obviously a different community that we’re talking about, but it’s the same issues we run into. We were sort of standing alone in the Denver-Boulder area as active presenters.”

Colley said in addition to providing local dancers with the opportunity to learn from Mueller, she wants the Carbondale and Roaring Fork Valley community to gain appreciation for the art of dance by being exposed to high-quality performances.

“We don’t see a lot of cross-pollination between any part of the state in terms of dance,” she said. “We’re really excited to be sharing with each other, from the Front Range to over here.”


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