Now Showing: Garrett Ammon and Laura Ann Samuelson on dance and the arts
For this year's Now Showing, Westword's fall arts guide (you'll find it tucked into our September 26 issue), we asked artistic movers and shakers to answer a few questions about the state of the arts, both locally and around the world. We'll be rolling out their answers over the next few weeks in pairs that combine both veterans and newcomers in similar disciplines. First up? Garrett Ammon and Laura Ann Samuelson discussing dance.
Garrett Ammon of Wonderbound.
Garrett Ammon, artistic director, Wonderbound.
Ammon is the creative genius behind Wonderbound (formerly Ballet Nouveau Colorado), a dance company that blends top-notch performers with challenging, contemporary choreography. Wonderbound takes leaps regularly (the company's metaphorical logo is a running rabbit), sometimes into literary and pop-cultural realms. For Ammon and his dancers, no theme is off limits.
WestwordWhat do you think of recent developments in your field, and the current scene?
Garrett Ammon: The world has changed in profound ways over the past many years, and society continues to transform at a stunning rate. During this evolution, artists and organizations have been navigating this new reality in a variety of ways and experimenting with innovative approaches to share their art with their communities. The reality that is coming into focus is that no single individual, organization or community can truly keep pace with this level of change. Consequently, this is forcing an important process of internal reflection for artists about what they value and where they will focus their finite energy. Artists have always been the social glue that connects communities, and I believe the value of that role has never been greater.
What could be done to improve the scene?
I think there is a lot of buzz right now about the creative community in Denver, and it has become apparent that this is one of our city's greatest assets. At the same time, Denver is in an adolescent stage of sorts: Its potential has shown itself, but we need to be patient, let it find its unique path, and not push it too much to conform to any particular ideal. Otherwise, we could inadvertently stamp out that spark of possibility.
Any artist or organization will say that word of mouth is the most valuable form of marketing. If you love something that is happening in the arts scene, the greatest things you can do are support it and tell your friends about it.
Who/what has inspired you most in your career?
I have the great fortune of working with an incredible group of dedicated artists every day -- from the dancers at Wonderbound to our collaborating artists from across the community. These individuals continually inspire me, open new doors of possibility, and push me to find more within myself.
Who/what will you be watching for this arts season?
There are a lot of people and organizations that are stepping out there and taking some big risks, both artistically and organizationally, right now. I am excited to see what comes out of this adventurous spirit. Whether all of these new approaches are deemed successful or not, they show vibrancy and an enthusiasm for change that Denver will benefit greatly from.
For more on Garrett Ammon, visit Wonderbound online.
Continue reading for our interview with Laura Samuelson.