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A "Rodeo" rides into Carbondale

Stina Sieg
Glenwood Springs, Co Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” This isn’t Robert Mintz’s first dance show, but it certainly is his first “Rodeo.”

To hear him tell it, there’s something different about “A Rodeo,” Danse Arts Theatre Company’s newest production. Beginning tonight, it’s got bar brawls, rope tricks and good old-fashioned Western romance. He’s banking on every night being unique.

“Like a great night at a jazz concert, you’ll never hear it again,” he said.



Mintz, 41, was sitting in the Glenwood Dance Academy and was surrounded by more than a dozen fellow dancers, teachers, a choreographer and more. Most were giggling and smiling, eating lunch and wearing their street clothes.

“These are all the nuts in the show,” said director DeAnna Anderson, laughing.



They all sounded proud, giving their two cents on the piece.

“It’s not like make believe,” said Anthony Jerunica, 47. “It’s more like reality.”

Whether you’re a “man’s man” or a “dainty woman,” you’ll identify with some of “Rodeo’s” universal themes, he insisted. As the Straw Boss, he plays alongside his wife, Alexandria, 33. She’s the tomboy cowgirl, vying for his affections. Much of the plot revolves around her trying to turn into a “lady” on her quest for love.

After working so closely with her spouse since January, she joked that they were just “starting to get along again.”

More seriously, though, the 30-year veteran dancer said she was excited to be part of the show. Along with professionals like herself, this thing has all kinds of performers, ages 6 to 80. Some are trained; some are not, and all lend a color not always seen in a dance performance.

“It’s really about the whole community coming together,” she said.

There are fights and group dances, some involving more than a dozen men, many of whom had never danced before. Choreographer Johnna Modene, 53, made sure to create natural, simple movements for them. The result, she said, is nothing short of “organized chaos.”

Two of the main characters are skilled, well-known dancers ” who both recently

came back to the art. Susan Walker, 40, (The Rancher’s Eldest Daughter), started performing again after a 20 year absence. David Taylor, 60, (Head Wrangler) came out of retirement specifically to do this show. Both gave their enthusiastic thoughts over the phone.

“It’s been one the most fun and entertaining shows I’ve ever done,” said Walker.

“What a wonderful experience,” added Taylor, who described seeing “every strata” of society coming together.

“It’s really what dancing is all about, in my opinion,” he explained. “People are all excited by DeAnna’s vision, and it’s a whole heck of a lot of fun.”

Mintz couldn’t agree more. Just like the shows he’s been in for the last two years, this one feels transformative.

“I’ve been a plumber, a wrecking ball in a china shop my whole life,” he said. “Now I get a chance to be the china.”

The group around him laughed.

Soon after, Brandi Wittwer, 22, and Stephanie Grange, 17, modeled a scene from the show. Country music blasted as they did a “tap off” competition. Then, a large group of girls pantomimed a picnic scene and danced in unison. There was a down-home and bigger than life quality to it all.

And Anderson was smiling as she watched it from the sidelines.

Even after 30 years of directing, working with dancers never gets old for her, she insisted. Their energy is always fresh, exciting.

“It’s their life,” she said ” no doubt speaking for herself, too.


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