If you go
What: Boulder Ballet presents Ballet in the Park
When and where: 7 p.m. Sunday at the Broomfield Amphitheater, 3 Community Park Road; 7:30 p.m. June 21 at the Civic Green Amphitheater, 9370 S. Ridgeline Blvd., Highlands Ranch; and 7 p.m. June 22 at the Central Park Bandshell, 13th and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder. Show is about an hour long.
More info: boulderballet.org
Dancing outside feels different, for the performers and for the audience.
The energy outside is softened by the grass, surrounded by the waving trees. Even a performance you've already seen on an indoor stage feels new — casual, more approachable, said Susan Cassell, with the Boulder Ballet.
In fact, that approachability is a major goal of the Boulder Ballet's annual Ballet in the Park.
The 10th annual, free outdoor shows kicked off Sunday, June 15, in Broomfield, at the amphitheater.
From there, it travels to Cherry Creek and wraps up June 22 at the Central Park Bandshell in Boulder.
The hour-long, family-friendly show will feature a sampling of styles of dance by seven company dancers.
Pack a picnic and enjoy a casual dinner and a free show, organizers suggest.
Ballet in the Park is also organized to thank regular attendees with a free and more intimate show, said Ana Claire, director.
"You can interact with the audience more," she said. "There are no lights blinding your eyes. It's more intimate for everybody. More walls are gone, and it's wide open."
Despite the company name, this isn't just ballet.
"It's eclectic, so there is some classical, modern and character dancers, and it's short, so children won't get antsy," Claire said. "We also bring the children on stage to dance during the show. It's fun, and it's in a gorgeous setting on Colorado evenings. That can't be beat."
The Boulder Ballet is known for creative and nontraditional takes on dance, and this show will also include tango, a Bulgarian line dance and an whimsical, contemporary piece by alum Jacob Taylor. Taylor recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in dance, and is returning to Boulder to join the Boulder Ballet company.
Perhaps the highlight of this year's Ballet in the Park is a piece called "Try to Remember" from the Fantasticks, choreographed by Boulder Ballet's founder, Barbara Demaree.
It was her daughter who came up with the idea for Ballet in the Park to begin with.
Back then, it was called Sunday in the Park, but when the ballet began offering shows on Saturdays, too, they changed the name, according to Claire.
In honor of the 10th anniversary, they decided to bring that routine back. Boulder has not seen it performed since 2008.
Demaree originally created "Try to Remember" in honor of one of the dancer's mothers, an opera singer, who passed away. But it's also a good fit for this anniversary celebration, Claire said.
In addition, the show will bring back "Coppélia," with music by Léo Delibes and choreographed by Becky Jancosko, from the Boulder Ballet's Mother's Day show at the Boulder Theater.
The audience also will get a fiery taste of the tango, in the piece "Cara a Cara," which Claire choreographed herself.
Every year, the event fills all seats and spaces, and attendance continues to grow, so organizes suggest arriving early.
The performance will feature dancers Taylor, Julianna Bicki, Melissa Heslep, Amy Fogerty, Rachel Haber, Kate Wagner and Matthew Helms.