Junction Box - 1075 Park Avenue West


Funding Received: 2013
Denver, CO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
March 14, 2014

Wonderbound Company Artists Danny Ryan and Meredith Strathmeyer in Garrett Ammon's "When the Power Goes Out;" photo by Amanda Tipton

During the past month, Wonderbound was preparing for its production of "Love" and along the way we had the opportunity to share our art and work with the community in a variety of ways.

Wonderbound Company Artists Sarah Tallman and Amanda Copple at Junction Box; photo by Amanda Tipton

Denver Shared Spaces Learning Community Gathering
On the evening of January 15, we hosted our friends from Denver Shared Spaces for their quarterly Learning Community Gathering at Junction Box. Attendees arrived to see the end of Wonderbound's rehearsal day, and then I had the opportunity to talk about the work we are doing in the community and our shared space at Junction Box that houses the unique combination of an urban infill developer (Urban Market Partners), a community organizing group (Community Coordinating District No. 1), and a contemporary dance company (Wonderbound). Denver Shared Spaces is "a nationally recognized, public-private partnership that promotes best-practices in the creation and operation of shared space centers in Denver."

Junction Box visitors viewing "Death Spin," a charcoal drawing by Mitch Castor; photo by Amanda Tipton

Art Students League of Denver Art Opening
For four weeks in September and October, Art Students League of Denver held a course during Wonderbound's rehearsals at Junction Box titled "The Figure in Motion." On January 17, the course's students and their instructor Mitch Castor held an art opening in the space to share their work.

Wonderbound Company Artist Colby Foss dancing with a resident at Covenant Village retirement community; photo by Amber Blais

Project Generations at Covenant Village and The Argyle
Company Artists Candice Bergeron and Colby Foss headed to Covenant Village retirement community on January 22 while Company Artists Julie King and Damien Patterson went to The Argyle assisted living on January 23. They joined Wonderbound Dance/Movement Therapist Heather Sutton to dance with residents and continue an ongoing dialogue with our elders.

Wonderbound Company Artist Amanda Copple dancing an excerpt from Sarah Tallman's "Intimate Letters;" photo by Amanda Tipton

Teaser Episode #3: Love
On January 28 we had a packed house at Junction Box for our third Teaser Episode where we shared excerpts from the three ballets on the upcoming program while attendees enjoyed eats by our friends down the street at The Lobby.

Poet Michael J. Henry reciting the title poem from "When the Power Goes Out;" photo by Amanda Tipton

We started the evening with a reading by Michael J. Henry of Lighthouse Writers Workshop. He read the title poem from "When the Power Goes Out." This ballet holds a special place in my heart, being the first collaborative project I engaged in after moving to Denver. Originally created in 2009 to recordings of Frédéric Chopin piano works and including six original poems by Mike, it is receiving its first treatment of live music played by Heidi Leathwood.

We continued by sharing "Already, Nostalgia," the third scene from the ballet, which is danced by Company Artists Amanda Copple and Colby Foss to Chopin's "Op. 9, Nocturne in E-Flat Major."

Confluence String Quartet playing at Junction Box; photo by Amanda Tipton

We went on to share the first movement of Company Artist Sarah Tallman's world premiere ballet "Intimate Letters" which was set to Leoš Janáček's 1928 score. Played live by Confluence String Quartet, this work has turned out to be a powerful psychological study that captures the complexity and anxiety of the score. Read a Q&A between Erica Prather and Sarah Tallman about "Intimate Letters" in “303 Magazine.”

Wonderbound Company Artists Candice Bergeron and Julie King in an excerpt from Garrett Ammon's "For the Love of Pete;" photo by Amanda Tipton

The dancing portion of the evening closed with the first two movements of my ballet "For the Love of Pete," which premiered in 2010 and is an irreverent interpretation of selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty." With this production it is receiving its first performance to live music with new arrangements for string quartet and piano by Confluence String Quartet's own Richard von Foerester.

Wonderbound Company Artists Damien Patterson, Marian Faustino and Brandon Freeman; and Poet Michael J. Henry during a Q&A at Junction Box; photo by Amanda Tipton

We wrapped up the evening with a Q&A with the Wonderbound company and our collaborating musicians as well as a sneak peak at some of the costumes for the production.

Read a story about Teaser Episode #3 by W. Celeste Davis Stragand in “Presenting Denver.”

Wonderbound Company Artists and homeless residents dancing together outside St. Francis Center; photo by Lena Prieto

Sharing Dance on the Street
One day, a couple of months ago, a photographer from Spain named Lena Prieto walked through the door at Junction Box. She was exploring the neighborhood, getting to know the diverse inhabitants that populate the area, and was intrigued by the way Wonderbound engages the community. She set about organizing a photo shoot with the some of our dancers and members of the homeless community that expresses the nature of this unique relationship.

Wonderbound Company Artists and homeless residents dancing together outside St. Francis Center; photo by Lena Prieto

On January 29, everyone gathered outside St. Francis Center, which is next door to Junction Box, for the shoot. Colorado Public Radio's Corey H. Jones came along to document the happening. Lena captured a stunning collection of images that remind us how much we all have in common, regardless of our circumstances.

Wonderbound Company Artist Julie King dancing with a homeless resident outside St. Francis Center; photo by Lena Prieto

Watch an audio slideshow of the photos here: Colorado Public Radio -- Video: A photographer chronicles dancers and homeless people. And, read the story by Corey H. Jones here: Colorado Public Radio -- Q&A: A photographer chronicles dancers and homeless people.

Trey McIntyre Project at the Newman Center
On January 31, Trey McIntyre Project made its first appearance in Denver performing at the University of Denver's Newman Center. As founding members of TMP, my wife and Wonderbound Producing Director Dawn Fay and I had the pleasure of doing the "Behind the Curtain" discussion before the show. We enjoyed reflecting on those early years of TMP and talking about the creative process. After the performance, the dancers of TMP and Wonderbound all came together to enjoy each other's company over food and drink.

Confluence String Quartet's Richard von Foerester on stage with Wonderbound; photo by Amanda Tipton

Wonderbound moved into the theatre for "Love" with Confluence String Quartet and Pianist Heidi Leathwood on February 11 and began bringing all of the production elements together.

Students from Pinnacle Charter School on stage and in the house during Wonderbound's Community Education program; photo by Garrett Ammon

During the following two mornings, Wonderbound presented in-theatre community education performances for students from Pinnacle Charter School, The Studio School, and Pleasant View Elementary. It is always a pleasure to share our love of dance with students who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience live performance.

Wonderbound Company Artists Marian Faustino and Colby Foss in Garrett Ammon's "For the Love of Pete;" photo by Amanda Tipton

We opened "Love" on Valentine's Day for an enthusiastic audience and only felt pangs of regret that we would perform this show only three times during the run. It was a pleasure to see all of the artists revel in the exploration of love's beauty, heartache, joy and loss.

Eric Dallimore's photography exhibit of Wonderbound in the lobby for "Love;" photo by Garrett Ammon

As an added bonus to the weekend, Photographer Eric Dallimore installed his beautiful exhibit "If You Dream. If You Love. If You Wonder. One Year of Becoming Wonderbound." in the lobby of the theatre. Read a review of "Love" by Jane Evelyn Werle here: Presenting Denver -- Wonderbound’s "Love" and the Examined Life.

Recent Wins
-- Dawn and I were honored to be selected for the February feature "Dynamic Duos," which looks at "people who, through their unique partnerships—some romantic, some not—make Denver a more interesting, entertaining and welcoming place to live" in “5280 Magazine.”

-- Wonderbound Company Artist (and Pilates Instructor) Meredith Strathmeyer had a story published on the Pilates Method Alliance website that gives a personal account of her journey through hip replacement surgery: PMA -- A Look at Serious Injury from the Inside and Out.

-- Lighthouse Writers Workshop launched their "Big Read" in association with the National Endowment for the Arts on January 24 with "Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson. Wonderbound was delighted to be a part of their kick-off party and we look forward to keeping up with all of the community activities they have planned from now through April.

-- As part of their yearlong exhibition series "She Crossed the Line," our neighbors at RedLine presented "Towing the Line" a panel discussion in collaboration with Art Students League of Denver. On February 13, seven women leaders came together to "share how they have managed careers in the male-dominated industries of art and business.”

Snarf's Sandwiches; photo by Garrett Ammon

Our neighborhood got two new restaurants! Snarf's—quite possibly the Denver area's favorite sandwich; and Work & Class, which looks quite intriguing. We wish them the greatest success!

Recently Michelle Rorke, proprietor of Voila—a salon and parfumerie down the street from Junction Box—stopped by to share a book with us. It is "a wordless picture book" by Mark Ludy called "The Flower Man." Michelle said that she felt like this book captures the essence of what Wonderbound is doing in our neighborhood.

"The Flower Man" by Mark Ludy

I think this book perfectly expresses the ideals of creative placemaking as a whole, and is well worth the small cost of owning it.