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Dancers, musicians convey modern mythology

`Aphrodite’s Switchboard’ shows varying outcomes of magical bid to foster love


Garrett Ammon, choreographer/director of Wonderbound contemporary dance company, has again collaborated with the Denver psychedelic folk band Chimney Choir (the two companies previously produced the popular “Boomtown”), to produce a new artistic creation: “Aphrodite’s Switchboard,” which appears in three area theaters to herald spring, Valentine messages and looks at assorted human relationships.

Described as “a full length evening of theatrical dance,” it will feature the company’s remarkable dancers and music compiled in a new album that features folk harmonies and instrumental melodies to create a landscape for masterful storytelling through Feb. 2, in conjunction with the versatile band.

That earthly landscape, set in the 1930s era, looks dreary to the gods on Mount Olympus, so they send Aphrodite, goddess of love, desire and beauty — accompanied by Hermes (messenger of the gods and sometime trickster, with winged feet and helmet) — to bring love back to the world.

The goddess soon finds a job as a switchboard operator and begins to connect people — with varying results.

Ammon said the new project “pushed all of us into new territory while exploring themes that have captivated humanity through the ages. This production is a great example of the magical possibilities that arise through the collaborative process.”

The band’s Kevin Larkin speaks of “new composition techniques and orchestration.” A cabin in Fairplay offered the musicians an opportunity to create new music, away from city distractions. An exploration of conveying ancient mythological tales with contemporary music offered new experiences — and the first band production with Greek mythology as source.

Formerly known as Ballet Nouveau, Wonderbound’s company began to change with Ammon’s arrival in 2007 — and his penchant for using live music. In 2012, the name Wonderbound and a symbol of a jumping red hare were adopted and the company moved its headquarters to Denver from Broomfield. (Check the website for announcements of performances and open rehearsals in this urban studio.)

Chimney Choir began in 2011 with guitar, banjo, mandolin and suitcase drum and have toured nationally, while developing “layers of electronics, live looping and percussion. They remain fascinated with folk music and traditions while they constantly evolve and experiment …”

Watch for the next Wonderbound production — with members of the Colorado Symphony — in April/May: “Madness, Rack and Honey.”


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