‘Spinoff’ dance event blends classic, contemporary styles


Fans of Beethoven and Bruno Mars don’t always run in the same circles.

The sequined suits and perfect coiffure of the pop superstar don’t exactly jibe with the staid stereotypes often associated with classical music.

But the two worlds will be inextricably blended in Aurora this weekend with a performance at the city’s recently polished People’s Building on East Colfax Avenue.

Kim Robards Dance, which runs its company out of a studio directly across the street from the new performance space, is teaming up with Spinphony, a Denver-based string quartet, for a modern dance performance choreographed to original Spinphony tunes.

The show, deemed “Spinoff,” is the first dance event ever scheduled to take place in the former People’s Rent-to-Own building at 9995 E. Colfax Ave., which the city bought about four years ago for $875,000, according to Tony Chacon, urban renewal supervisor with the city.

Including the initial purchase price, the city has invested a total of about $2.73 million into the facility, which was originally constructed in the 1940s, city spokeswoman Julie Patterson said. The city is planning on renting the some 4,000-square-foot performance space to various arts groups on an as-needed basis, and, eventually, leasing an attached 2,500-sqaure-foot restaurant shell to a permanent eatery.

The inaugural modern dance performance, which will feature live string music throughout the roughly two-hour-long spectacle, is a reprisal of a show the two artistic groups debuted at the Lakewood Cultural Center earlier this year.

“I think I wanted to bring it back because I feel, as one of the district stakeholders in the Aurora Cultural Arts District, that every show we do — if we mount a show that’s outside of here — we also want it to happen in the district,” Robards said. “You know, that’s the whole point of being here. And this particular show…we had such an amazing response to it.”

The performance features a slew of Robards-choreographed dances set to musical arrangements penned by Brett Omara, the founder, artistic director and violinist for Spinphony.

Omara, who studied at the Manhattan School of Music before starting the local quartet about four years ago, described her approach to composition as, “taking the greatest melodies of all time and mashing them together.”

She’s not exaggerating. The new show in Aurora features “Uptown 5th,” which is a blend of “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, as well as alchemies of Journey and Beethoven and AC/DC and Bach.

The collaboration with Kim Robards Dance also features a performance entitled, “Aloft,” which Robards choreographed to a piece of music written by contemporary composer Bryce Dessner, who also plays guitar for the Brooklyn-based band The National. The Spinphony players will also perform the music for that performance live.

Omara, who previously gave music lessons at nearby Montview Math and Health Sciences Elementary School for about three years, said the show is intended to lure crowds who may not typically be compelled to catch a live performance featuring classical music.

“We’re really kind of all about exploring a new way to explore classical music and bringing in a new audience,” she said.

Robards approached Omara about a potential collaboration late last year after hearing about her performance at the opening of Aurora’s new Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center last summer, and later at the CherryArts Festival at Stanley Marketplace in the fall.

Echoing Omara, Robards said the show injects fresh life into a medium and a genre that is so often laden with stereotypes.

“I think (Spinphony is) refined and sophisticated, but also relevant and trendy and current all at the same time … and that’s sort of how I think about KRD,” she said. “We don’t wear tutus, we’re a modern dance company … but there’s so many pre-conceived notions about what modern dance is, and we’ve worked hard to spread the word that it’s not just standing and pretending you’re a tree.”

LaRana Skalicky, associate executive director for Kim Robards Dance, confirmed the show helps to dent some of the cliches that frequently cloud both modern dance and classical music.

“It’s one of those concerts where no one feels like, “I’m just sitting through another esoteric dance piece where I don’t know what’s going on,’” she said. “It’s really accessible with high energy and very uplifting.”

The performance is taking place one night only at 7:30 p.m. May 19.


7:30 p.m. May 19, The People’s Building, 9995 E. Colfax Ave.

Running time is 2 hours.

For ticket information, call 303-825-4847 or email [email protected]