Local dancers from Ballet Society of Colorado Springs will be performing featured roles in the Colorado Springs and Denver presentations of The Thornat New Life Church in Colorado Springs and Magness Arena in Denver. With a Colorado Springs cast of 500, this Broadway-meets-Cirque-de-Soleil passion play has been seen by over a million people in the past sixteen years in live performances, as well as broadcast through Daystar television.
The Thorn will be presented in five cities across the nation this spring the weeks before Palm Sunday and Easter including: Charleston, SC; Colorado Springs and Denver, CO; Nashville, TN; and Seattle, WA.
“My favorite part of The Thorn,” says Executive Producer, Sarah Bolin, “is all the volunteers in the local and touring cast telling the story together, each adding their own special piece.” When asked specifically what the dancers bring to the production, she said, “Grace, beauty, God’s artistry.”
“The story of Creation and the fall of Adam and Eve are a key part to the overall narrative of redemption in The Thorn,” says Thorn Stage Director (and Ballet Society Contemporary instructor), Martha Wirth, who has choreographed the Genesis scene, the part of Mary, mother of Jesus, and the stage dancers in the Heaven Scene. Martha has been part of The Thorn in a variety of capacities for twelve years. “Our Adam and Eve are just as you would image the first humans, bursting with life, curiosity and enthusiasm.”
Seventeen year old Amanda Townley and eighteen year old Charlotte Coltrin will portray Eve, in Colorado Springs and Denver respectively, opposite sixteen year old Colton West as Adam.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is portrayed by Meghan Connelly. Emily Henderson, Hillary MacPhee, and Martha Wirth are stage dancers. Ironically, the completely angelic Hannah Hendrix is cast as a Demon. Tahlia Lowman is one of the Egyptian Women and Meredith Miles is a Townsperson. Ruth Aumiller and Kylie Keesler are Roman Girls and Townspeople. Aisle Dancers include: SarahRose Lorrig, Tatiana Lowman, Mason Miles, and Elizabeth Wilkes.
“Since I started directing two years ago and using Ballet Society dancers on stage, the bar has been raised for the stage dancers in the Thorn,” says Wirth. “These girls bring excellence, poise and a professionalism that I appreciate very much.”
Townley (Eve in Colorado Springs), has danced at Ballet Society for five years and recently received her fifth award at the Denver Ballet Guild. She has also won dance awards from the Esther Geoffrey scholarship competition and has been offered a 100% merit based tuition scholarship to the Colorado Ballet Summer Intensive with a pending studio company contract. Townley has also been accepted into the University of Oklahoma’s dance program. “Ever since I saw a good friend of mine portray Eve a few years back, it has been a dream of mine to be part of The Thorn,” says Townley. “I’m so excited to be dancing that same role!” Townley will also be featured in the Colorado Youth Ballet’s production of Coppelia as ‘Swanhilda’ next month.
Coltrin (Eve in Denver), has danced for eight years at Ballet Society and is also a multiple time award winner at the Denver Ballet Guild and a recipient of the Esther Geoffrey scholarship competition awards. She is being featured with the Colorado Youth Ballet in Le Corsaire and Ballet Society’s History Thru Dance presentations at several schools throughout Colorado Springs. Coltrin has also been accepted into the University of Arizona dance program.
West (Adam in Denver and Colorado Springs), who has recently joined Ballet Society was featured this past fall as the Nutcracker Prince with Ballet Idaho and the Arabian Lead in the Colorado Youth Ballet Nutcracker in December. Both performances were at the Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Earlier this month, West won a first place award at the Denver Ballet Guild competition. He will be attending American Ballet Theatre’s six week ballet intensive program in New York City on a full scholarship this summer.
Hillary MacPhee, 21, is enjoying her third year with the production as one of the stage angels. MacPhee says, “The Thorn is an opportunity to express oneself as an artist, but it is also pointing the way to Jesus and what He did for all of humanity on the cross.” MacPhee has danced at Ballet Society since she was nine years old. Previously a 1st Place winner of the Esther Geoffrey Young Dancer’s Competition in 2006, 2008, 2010 and a finalist in Denver Ballet Guild in 2007, and 2008 some of her favorite past roles have included the title role of the Firebird in Firebird, and Paquita. Having recently returned from a mission trip to Thailand with Youth With A Mission, and being from a missionary home, MacPhee embraces her family’s legacy to reach out to others in need across the world. As a dance instructor, she has this to say about the studio she grew up at, “Ballet Society has been a blessing in my life. It’s more than just another dance school, it’s a community.”
Seventeen year old Emily Henderson was an aisle dancer in last year’s production but will be on the stage this year. “I love helping to spread God’s word through this show and getting to praise Him while I perform,” says Henderson. The best part of being in the Thorn is growing closer to God. It strengthens my faith.” She has been dancing at Ballet Society for the past year and a half. “I love so many things about Ballet Society. The teachers are excellent and so incredibly nice, the classes are really fun and creative, and performances are a blast!”
“Our dancers thrill to being part of community productions and are often offered prime roles,” says Ballet Society founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “Many of our students have a very strong personal and spiritual connection to the message of The Thorn, and I’m glad that they have the opportunity to add a powerful dimension to such a fantastic presentation.”
Tickets for The Thorn are $10-$25 and are available at: http://thethorn.net and New Life Church.
General information about Ballet Society of Colorado Springs is available online at: www.danceinthesprings.com
Who: Thorn Productions
What: The Thorn ~A passion dramatization with dynamic visuals and special effects.
Where: New Life Church, 11025 Voyager Parkway, C/S, CO
When: March 21-24
Tickets: $10-$25 are available at: http://thethorn.net and New Life Church.