Playbill: Three Plays and Performances to See in Denver This Week
Animal Farm opens Friday at Germinal Stage.
Performances traditional -- and untraditional -- set the stage this week, from an impromptu dance in an art gallery to the revival of a chilling, tried-and-true tale. Here's what you'll find this week on late-summer stages.

See also: Five 5ths of the Wizard of Oz: A Fringe Benefit!

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Five People to Watch at the International Aerial Dance Festival 2014

Categories: Dance, Festivals

Photo Courtesy of Frequent Flyers® Aerial Dance Festival
Cyr wheel master Sam Tribble, running circles around the stage.
You see aerial dance in circuses and burlesque shows, at gymnastics meets and even on the formal dance stage -- but it wasn't always so. And as Nancy Smith of Boulder's Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance will attest, aerial dance has not only grown in stature in this country, but it's part of an international community that could become the next big thing in performance.

Each year, Smith invites the best of the best in the field to Colorado for the Aerial Dance Festival, two weeks of instruction, networking and public shows. "You won't be able to see these performances anywhere else," she says. "This group of artists might be blocked together in performances only one time."

We asked Smith for her list of the fest's heaviest hitters; following is a rundown of the top five.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Nancy Smith of Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance

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Dancer Damien Woetzel on how to make art a relevant, productive part of any place

Categories: Dance

Damian Woetzel.
In the ballet world, Damian Woetzel is a rock star. A one-time New York City Ballet principal, he retired in 2008, his last performance marked by a burst of critical praise, a shower of blooms and an ovation that lasted ten minutes. Since then, he's been busy. It's impossible to list all his projects, awards and enthusiasms, but here's a sample: Woetzel serves on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, is director of Arts Programs for the Aspen Institute, co-founded the Jerome Robbins Essential Works Program, worked with Yo-Yo Ma on Silk Road Connect, a program in New York City schools that focuses on "passion driven education"; directed an arts salute to Stephen Hawking at Lincoln Center for the World Science Festival; and helps bring music to wounded veterans through Arthur Bloom's MusiCorps program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center -- not by bringing in artists to perform, but by getting the vets themselves involved in the intense work of music making.

"Arthur is incredibly perceptive," Woetzel says. "He went to visit the vets and noticed that in the afternoons they didn't have much to do; their tests were all in the morning. He thought some of these guys might like to play music. It's a great tool for rehabilitation even of injuries to digits or brain injuries. Most important to the guys was the work. They didn't want this to be an enlightening thing. It was about rehearsal, and it re-energized them. When I brought Yo-Yo Ma to play with them, they wanted to know, How long will he play with us? How long will we get to work?"

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Henry Awards have yet to come up with a winning system

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Playbill: This week's Denver-area dance and drama picks

Gemma Wilcox takes a Magical Mystery Detour at Wesley Chapel in Boulder.
Summer is a mixed bag at metro-area stages, where the local companies entertain with audience-friendly fare, new play festivals and Shakespeare under the stars. And there's more, so what will you see this weekend? Here are a few ideas.

See also: Dance Fever: The Vail International Dance Festival

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Playbill: This week's Denver-area dance and drama picks

James O'Hagan-Murphy and Len Matheo are Felix and Oscar in Miners Alley's The Odd Couple.
From a special storytelling spectacular with The Narrators at Buntport to a summer new-play festival at Edge Theatre, this week's performing arts calendar has the proverbial something for everyone. Here are three more ways to stay busy with hot-weather diversions.

See also: On the Hot Seat: Who Will Sing For Lena?

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Playbill: This week's performing arts picks
Gruesome Playground Injuries, Dairy Center for the Arts.
From participatory performance art on a stage in a picture window to an improvised gag-fest about the pitfalls of speed dating, there are many ways to find relief from the summer heat, whether it's in a gallery environment or a dark theater. Here are a few of the coolest performing-arts options this week.

See also: The Right Note: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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Playbill: Three ways to enjoy the performing arts in Denver this week

Photo by Lauren Harper
Daughter Cells Dance and artist Sabin Aell, Ubuntu, BMoCA.
Perhaps it's the pull of longer days and glorious nights that shuts down local stages in the summertime. But there are still places where you can catch a great musical or a dance performance when the heat of the day begins to subside. Here are our picks for this week.

See also: Artistes Nouveaux at the Aurora Fox

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Playbill: This week's dance and drama picks

Categories: Dance, Theater

I Hate Hamlet, Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
The curtains never really go down on Denver's stages, even in the summer, when some companies take a break -- but others launch special festivals. Here are a few ways to be transported by music, dance, comedy and drama this week.

See also: Ch-Ch-Changes: (the world we've created) at the Studio Loft

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Julia Kay on dance, pointing your toes and "Welcome to the Madhouse"

Categories: Dance

Julia Kay of Point Your Damn Toes.
Why is the dance company whose "Welcome to the Madhouse" plays in Longmont this weekend called Point Your Damn Toes? Founder-director Julia Kay laughs. "We first started dancing together two or three years ago, and when we decided to become a company, I was bouncing back and forth among names," she explains. "Some of our dancers aren't technically trained, and there was a lot I'd remind them to do. I'd keep yelling, 'Point your damn toes,' and that became a joke, and kind of stuck."

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives -- Kim Olson

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Kim Olson

Photo by Frank Sygusch.
#77: Kim Olson

Dancer/choreographer Kim Olson founded SWEET EDGE ten years ago in Boulder as an interdisciplinary vision built on a foundation of collaboration and trust. "The name derives from a state of being -- where change is constant and movement fundamental. We shift, merge, adapt, step out of the known, take risks and ask why -- this is the Dance. For me, the  SWEET EDGE happens in the space between what is and what can be." That's how she describes the tight-knit ensemble's mission in her written statement, and it's a credo that's taken SWEET EDGE, now based in Denver, beyond all limits.

How does Olson keep the ideas flowing through that unknown space? Learn more by reading her 100CC questionnaire.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Patrick Mueller, Control Group Productions

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