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Professional dancer Briana Selstad Bosch founded Ballet5280 in early 2017, with the hopes of providing fellow dancers a fairer and more balanced pay structure for their performances. The organization she created to help others has turned out to be an unexpected helpful and therapeutic tool for herself.
“My best friend of 20 years took her life this year,” said Selstad Bosch. “So I decided to create a piece dedicated to her for our performance Jan. 13 at the Lone Tree Arts Center. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the National Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It's been cathartic to choreograph a piece just for her.”
Ballet5280 will be presenting Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" at LTAC, with the performance set for 7 p.m. Jan. 13. The program will also include an original piece by Denver-based choreographer Gregory Gonzales, and works by Davis Contemporary Dance Company.
The new dance company consists of 13 dancers currently, and is one of the first of its kind in Colorado that incorporates a profit-sharing model for all of the dancers. According to Selstad Bosch, historically there is a large discrepancy in wages earned by dancers, and she formed Ballet5280 to give dancers more opportunities to expand their craft and be part of the productions they are in.
After becoming exhausted and frustrated at her experience in ballet companies, Selstad Bosch said she wanted to create a company that allowed the dancers to feel ownership and responsibility for their own success.
“I wanted to change the typical 'starving artist' aspect of many ballet companies. There are many positions in companies that are completely unpaid, and most of the rest are seriously underpaid,” said Selstad Bosch.
Ballet5280, she said, focuses on the mental and financial health of its dancers.
Dancer Sammi Harmon has been dancing for more than 24 years, and joined Ballet5280 for its inaugural performance in May, and said she enjoys the company, the pay structure and being able to have a say in what the company does, including agreeing to donate proceeds to suicide prevention.
“I knew Briana, so when she started Ballet5280 I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” said Harmon. “I feel like this has been the most fair pay structure I've had as a dancer. We know donations going into the company are not just covering overhead costs, or the board. We have a say for sure.”
Tickets for the Lone Tree show can be purchased at www.ballet5280.com or www.lonetreeartscenter.org.
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