What We Do is Secret: An interview with Gil Boggs of the Colorado Ballet

Gil Boggs

To see the dancers of the Colorado Ballet in motion is to be captivated by story expressed in fine lines, in the particular bend of a back, threading of needle from one body to the next, and to appreciate the emotional and mental energy required by both the audience and the company to achieve that engagement. Having joined the company as its artistic director in 2006, Gil Boggs is the visionary behind such performances as this year’s “Giselle,” “Cinderella,” and others. Following the wrapping of “Giselle” in October, Boggs spoke with us briefly regarding “Giselle,” some of his favorite books, and what he listens to.

SC: Where’s your head at currently, in regards to creative efforts?

GB: I think creative efforts as far as it goes in the dance world…I think we’ve seen really wonderful, established choreographers doing new work and up and coming choreographers doing good work, as well. Certainly on our end, we have recently and during the spring will be showcasing some of that.

SC: Is there anyone in particular that you’re really excited about?

GB: Val Caniparoli did some outstanding work for us last year and we’re bringing back two ballets that were created for the ballet a couple of years ago, which were audience favorites, and also one of our ballet mistresses, Sandra Brown, is doing a premier work for us that will be at the Newman Center next year.

SC: You guys just wrapped up “Giselle.” Was that [audience favorites] a factor in choosing that one for this season?

GB: Well, what we like to do in our season is show the diversity of the company, you know? We really are the only company in Colorado that can mount a full-length “Giselle” with up to sixty dancers on stage and then also present new contemporary works, as well, to the audiences here.

SC: That makes sense. How do you feel about it since you just wrapped it up this last weekend?

GB: “Giselle” was stunning. Let’s just put it that way. The Facebook and Twitter responses that we’ve gotten over the past two weekends have been outstanding. I think people really didn’t know they had this quality of a ballet company in Denver.

SC: Excellent. In getting a little bit more personal, what are you listening to music-wise right now?

GB: Well, I’m rather old and stodgy, so I’m stuck back in the 70s with my music. [laughs] So, you know, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Van Morrisson.

SC: Do you have any particular favorites for this time of the year?

GB: No. I find myself also on classical music stations quite a bit, listening for anything that might be new that could be used for a ballet.

SC: Are you a book reader at all? Do you read other material?

GB: I occasionally read a book here and there. Pat Conroy, who hasn’t written anything in a while, is one of my favorite authors. “The Great Santini” is a favorite title.

SC: And why is that one such a favorite for you?

GB: It just reminds me of my childhood somewhat. My father was in the Marine Corps, so it reminds me of earlier days.

SC: Do you have any finer artists or personal projects that you’re particularly in love with right now?

GB: Certainly Degas and his paintings of ballet, as well as Monet.

Colorado audiences will have the opportunity to see the annual performance of “The Nutcracker,” starting Nov. 30 through Dec. 28 with “Cinderella” debuting on Valentine’s Day 2014. For more information, visit the company’s website here.

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