How Dance Aspen Turned Loss Into New Opportunities

Spring 2021 brought back in-person stage performances after the COVID-19 pandemic forced countries from all over the world to impose lockdown and restrictions. In September 17, Dance Aspen had a successful performance at the Wheeler Opera House where every seats were sold out. This would not have happened if the dancers of the now closed Aspen Santa Fe Ballet did not feel empowered to do what they did, turning loss into new opportunities.’

The damage brought by the pandemic was too overwhelming for other companies that aren’t able to bounce back from the economic aftermath. This is what actually happened to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet  when the company announced disbandment after 25 years. Former dancer Laurel Jenny Winton mentioned how it was devastating.  The Aspen community in general were upset.

How a Community Inspired the Creation of a New Dance Company

Even as their ballet company was demobilized, Winton saw  that the community’s desire for professional dancing was still there.

Winton along with former Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dancers, started to assemble in the studio during June. They discussed how they all wanted to go back  and of their main goal of returning  to live stage performances.

Through the help of the community, Winton and other dancers created their own company called Dance Aspen, which became official early in July. The dancers had to divide all the work to themselves including donor engagement, rehearsal direction, marketing, and outreach development.

With no funding and with the pandemic still surging, they started from scratch and their company was able  to raise $50,000 through the summer.. Winton assumed the position of the company’s executive director, solving problems and learning new skills everyday with the guide of experts who were inspired by their community’s persistence.

Winton acknowledged they felt empowered to do well even if the circumstances were completely out of their control.