Junction Box - 1075 Park Avenue West


Funding Received: 2013
Denver, CO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
February 7, 2014

Wonderbound Company Artists Colby Foss and Marian Faustino in a promotional image for “Love;” photo by Kristen Hatgi Sink, Garrett Ammon and Wonderbound

The Nutcracker with Colorado Conservatory of Dance - As Wonderbound moved into the later half of December we adventured through our production of "The Nutcracker" with Colorado Conservatory of Dance. This popular ballet is a coming of age story told through a dream. Clara must overcome her fears with courage before she can journey to new places.


Wonderbound Company Artist Meredith Strathmeyer and Colorado Conservatory of Dance students in “The Nutcracker;” photo by Amanda Tipton

With this annual production, we have watched young dancers come of age in their own remarkable ways, dancing major roles in every scene. This is a testament to their hard work and dedication as well as the impeccable training they have received under the guidance of Julia Wilkinson Manley and the conservatory's dedicated faculty during their young lives.


A watercolor interpretation of "The Nutcracker" by Amanda Tipton

During this production, another story of growth and change was told. To continue the evolution of Wonderbound and the conservatory, and make space for the immense talents of the students, Wonderbound danced "The Nutcracker" for the final time. In the coming years, we look forward to cheering on this young generation of dancers as they take on new roles and new challenges with grace and courage. Their journey will surely be remarkable as they discover their own immense capacity for creating beauty and inspiring dreams.

Read a beautiful and thoughtful photo essay about the production here: Amanda Tipton -- Reflections on the Nutcracker.

A Good Year - As 2013 came to a close, Wonderbound was honored to see some generous press coverage of our performances, transformation and move to Junction Box:

The Denver Post -- Photos of the Year 2013

Colorado Public Radio -- CPR Classical's 2013 retrospective: The year's big stories in Colorado and beyond

Colorado Public Radio -- Colorado industries, artists and scientists that had a good year in 2013

Colorado Public Radio -- David Rothman: A poem for the New Year in Colorado, and the one that was


Garrett Ammon and Dawn Fay working with the Colorado Conservatory of Dance Student Company; photo by Jeri Johnson.

Colorado Conservatory of Dance Student Company - After the holidays were over, my wife Dawn Fay and I worked with the conservatory's Student Company creating a new ballet for their spring production. These eighteen students did remarkable work as they took on a full professional schedule from 9:30-5:30 for the first four days after the new year. We explored and created to selections from Aaron Copland's Old American Songs. The students inhabited the mix of nostalgia and humor that is infused in the works beautifully, and I look forward to seeing them bring it to life on the stage.


Wonderbound Company Artists Colby Foss and Marian Faustino in a promotional image for “Love;” photo by Kristen Hatgi Sink, Garrett Ammon and Wonderbound

Love with Confluence String Quartet - Wonderbound's company artists returned from the holidays on January 7, and we jumped right into work on our production of "Love" which we will present with the remarkable Confluence String Quartet and pianist Heidi Leathwood.

The program will consist of three ballets; two existing works, which will see their first treatment to live music, and one world premiere ballet by Wonderbound Company Artist Sarah Tallman.


Wonderbound Company Artists Candice Bergeron and Damien Patterson in rehearsal for Garrett Ammon and Michael J. Henry's "When the Power Goes Out;" photos by Danny Ryan

"When the Power Goes Out" from 2009, was my first ever collaboration with Michael J. Henry from Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Mike wrote six original poems for the ballet that are intimate portraits of beautifully flawed relationships. The dancers recite these poems both live and through recordings that lay over a collection of nocturnes and preludes by Frédéric Chopin.


Garrett Ammon, Wonderbound Company Artist Colby Foss and Recording Engineer Kevin Harbison in a University of Colorado recording studio; photo by Danny Ryan

I created "For the Love of Pete" in 2010 as an irreverent and playful romp through eleven selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty." Confluence String Quartet's Donald Schumacher has created an exquisite arrangement of this normally full orchestral music for string quartet and piano.


Wonderbound Company Artists Amanda Copple and Brandon Freeman in rehearsal for Sarah Tallman's "Intimate Letters;" photo by Danny Ryan

The program will be rounded out by Sarah's new work to Leoš Janáček's "Intimate Letters." which has been referred to as his "manifesto on love." To prepare for the work, Sarah dove into the psychology and backstory of this string quartet by exploring the more than 700 letters that were exchanged between Janáček and his secret muse Kamila Stösslová.


Wonderbound performing for Steve Owen's 75th birthday at Junction Box; photo by Amber Blais

A 75th Birthday Celebration - On January 10, Junction Box was transformed for a truly special birthday celebration. 180 attendees came to honor Steve Owen a developer who has left his mark on our vibrant city as a developer. His stepdaughter Amy Harmon mentored under him before founding Urban Market Partners and Community Coordinating District No. 1 which are Wonderbound's partners at Junction Box. Wonderbound had the honor of presenting a special performance for the evening that was also filled with good food, music and stories.


Wonderbound in rehearsal at Junction Box during an #InsideDenver Twitter chat; photo by Garrett Ammon

#InsideDenver - On January 15, Wonderbound Communications Manager Amber Blais and I joined Michael Chavez from Denver Arts & Venues' Public Art Program, Elysa Marden from Arts Brookfield, Mandy Renaud from Denver International Airport Public Art and fellow ArtPlace America grantee Brian Corrigan from Oh Heck Yeah for a Twitter chat about public art and creative placemaking. Organized by Blake Communications and Heinrich Marketing, the chat used the #InsideDenver hashtag to engage in a robust, real-time conversation for one hour.

Read the blog post summarizing the conversation here: The Heinrich Report Blog -- “We Must Dream. We Must Work. We Must be Rigorous”: Public Art & Placemaking in Denver.

Read the full transcript of the chat here: Storify -- #InsideDenver January Twitter Chat.


Wonderbound Company Artist Danny Ryan fly fishing in Colorado

Recent Wins
Wonderbound Company Artist Danny Ryan was featured in a story by Laura Di Orio: Dance Informa Magazine -- Dancers' Lives Off Stage.

Our neighbors at RedLine launched "The Transit of Venus: Four Decades, Front Range Women in the Visual Arts" which is the first of their 2014 exhibition series "She Crossed the Line." The exhibit opened January 10 and will run through February 23.

Down the street, our good friends at Leon Gallery opened "Sweet, Sweet Life: The Photographic Works of John Denver" on January 11 to such great enthusiasm that they had to split the opening into four showings. The special exhibit of never before seen photography runs through March 2.

As Wonderbound explores its production of "Love," I am reminded that Mike's title poem from "When the Power Goes Out" carries particular meaning about place and community, and the incredible magic that can happen when "life as usual" is disrupted.

When the Power Goes Out

by Michael J. Henry

You can’t say the city doesn’t love you.
You can’t say the world isn’t shaped by
streets and wages and lease agreements.
You can’t say the collective sigh
of hope and wonder isn’t bred into our bodies,
and we aren’t all seeking the same thing.

August. The power grid burns out
and for the first time in a long time
there are stars, and you can hear
everyone around you, shouts
and calls in candlelight.

Why does such a thing bring joy
to you, when you’re all glistening hot
and the milk’s about to spoil?
You collect in the courtyard;
the long-haired guy from 4-C

strums his guitar and you all sing Beatles tunes,
Love Me Do, Do You Want to Know a Secret,
Help, I Wanna Hold Your Hand.
Sudden friends for a time,
though in the morning you’ll all go back
to strangerness, to works and days.

But then, but then:
You see her standing there
clapping along to the music, her dress
falling off her shoulder, her hair a
gold mass, wild and everywhere, the way
you like it. When she smiles you know
your life is over. Gladly say goodbye to it.

And when she hands you a warm beer—
all she has—take her to
the park across the street, lay down
on the grass beside her,
willingly suffer a sea change
into something rich and strange,
gazing at the wonder of all those true lights.

© 2009 Michael J. Henry