The Palm: BalletCollective Performs 8/2/2014

The Palm: BalletCollective Performs 8/2/2014

A short history of a dance residency in Telluride:

In the halcyon days of the 1990s, instigated by former prima ballerina Valerie Madonia, a nonprofit known as the Telluride Society for the Performing Arts Dance signed a five-year contract with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Madonia’s alma mater, establishing a summer residency for the internationally acclaimed company.

Dancer from BalletCollective strikes a pose

Dancer from BalletCollective strikes a pose

The relationship worked like a beautifully choreographed pas de deux: the Joffrey got to reconstruct old favorites from its repertoire and create new works in an inspiring setting; locals and guests came to anticipate regular dance performances by a troupe known for its diversity, technical pizzazz and irrepressible spirit.

At that time, a tent was erected in the Mountain Village each summer to host the Joffrey and soon, other performances by other top-tier professional dancers from the Washington Ballet, RhythMEK, MOMIX and more. The infrastructure and expense required to host the talent was extraordinary, but the commitment of Madonia and the group of dance lovers that gathered around her under the umbrella of Dance in Telluride bore fruit: even recalcitrant husbands and sport-addicted couch potatoes eventually succumbed to the technical panache and sensuous lines of dancers whose hands and feet seemed to articulate scripts of their own.

And now, years later, another residency and another highly anticipated performance, this time driven by the artistic director of Palm Arts Dance, Shirley Fortenberry or “Miss Shirley” to her students, a friend and professional colleague of Madonia and a former a dancer with the Australian Ballet and London City Ballet.


BalletCollective is a talented group of seven dancers, one of whom is Telluride local Harrison Coll. The group under the direction of Troy Schumacher is the progeny of the redoubtable New York City Ballet.

The company will be in residency at the Palm Theatre from Saturday July 26 through Saturday, August 2. After a week of rehearsals, a master class and a community meet-and-greet, BalletCollective plans to strut its stuff at an evening performance accompanied by live music, a piano string quartet (coming up from Farmington). This very special event takes place Saturday, August 2, at 7 p.m.

Miss Shirley remembers a young Harrison Coll receiving instruction at the Telluride Dance Academy and is impressed with his accomplishments and the upward trajectory of BalletCollective as a whole:

“I am so pleased about the growth and successes of our dance program and the opportunities we provide for our young dancers and the greater Telluride community. We have had a thrilling year, and it is about to get better with BalletCollective’s summer residency. It is my sincere hope that the Telluride community will join us in welcoming this talented group to our community and reinstating professional summer dance in our small valley.”

Founded by Troy Schumacher in 2010, BalletCollective brings together artists, poets, composers, choreographers, and designers to collaborate as equals through the creation of distinctive works of art. The works the collective performs are intimate and reflective, yet accessible, and tailor-made just for this highly accomplished group of dancers.

At the heart of BalletCollective lies process.

Artists from different genres are encouraged to think beyond their usual frame: a composer considers visual art; a choreographer, the structure of a poem; a photographer, the rhythm of a piece of music. Boundaries are stretched and ultimately resolved into a dance piece – which continues to be re-imagined and enhanced as long as a particular work continues to be performed.

BalletCollective has had previous seasons at the Joyce Theater, Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay. The Telluride stay happens just one week after the group’s performance at the Fire Island Dance Festival.

The August 2nd event includes a new piece inspired by the painter David Salle; an excerpt from Dear and Blackbirds; a new pas de deux for dancers Ashely Laracey and Harrison Coll; and The Impulse Wants Company, which premiered in 2013 to rave reviews in New York City.

Chief dance critic for The New York Times, Alastair Macaulay, named The Impulse Wants Company one of the top ten dance events of 2013. In his review of the group’s sold-out performances at the Joyce Theater, Macauley described the piece as “direct and unforced, experimental and refreshing,” with “every entrance, exit, meeting an event.”

Reserved seating tickets for the public performance are $38 for adults and $25 for students and children. Purchase them online at or by calling 970.369.5669.


About Troy Schumacher, director and resident choreographer, BalletCollective:

Troy Schumacher formed BalletCollective as a 21st-century model inspired by historic ballet, music and visual art collaborative efforts.

Troy Schumacher

Troy Schumacher

In addition to founding and directing BalletCollaborative, Schumacher has received choreographic commissions from the 92nd Street Y Fridays at Noon series, School of American Ballet, New York Choreographic Institute, Salon/Sanctuary with Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Atlanta Ballet. Schumacher is active in other cultural media, and has participated in a number of cutting-edge collaborations including choreographing shoots for Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book, Aritzia and producing a performance for Creative Agency V Group’s Zero Zero Project.

As a dancer with the New York City Ballet, Schumacher has performed principal roles in several ballets, including George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stars and Stripes, Peter Martins’ Swan Lake, and Jerome Robbins’ Interplay.

In September, Schumacher will choreograph and premiere his first ballet commissioned by the New York City Ballet during the 2014-15 season, featuring music by Judd Greenstein.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my chat with Troy Schumacher.

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