Ballet Ariel performs at the Tabor

This weekend in Leadville brings the opportunity to see a live and colorful dance performance that will entertain both the young and the young at heart. Ballet Ariel is the acclaimed Denver ballet company returning to the Tabor Opera House stage with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Continuing the Tabor’s inaugural season under foundation management, this is the first dance performance of the season and the first ballet on the opera house stage since the same company brought Coppelia in 2014.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is an original ballet interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s short story from the literary masterpiece The Jungle Book. It is the story of a mongoose, adopted by a British family living in India, charged with protection of the household. When two cobras, Nag and Nagaina, threaten the home, Rikki-Tikki is tested in his bravery and loyalty. Elaborate costumes, creative lighting and, of course, dazzling choreography designed to mimic the movement of animals, recreate the dense jungle of India and make this performance stand out among the other rock, opera and musical performances slated for the Tabor’s 2017 schedule.

The performance is directed by Ilena Norton, artistic and executive director for the company since 1998. Since founding the Ballet Ariel School in 2001, Norton has produced several original ballets and passed on her knowledge of the craft to students who have gone on to dance in professional companies around the nation. With choreographer and Colorado Ballet alum Gregory Gonzales, the creative team behind Rikki-Tikki-Tavi has brought the exotic tale to life with both contemporary and classical styles, accompanied by music from Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera.

In its 19th season, “Ballet Ariel is building excitement about ballet, presenting original ballets that combine classical tradition and images of contemporary culture, while providing dance education and fostering appreciation of the art of ballet. The company employs 12 professional dancers under rehearsal directors Oleg Dedogryuk and Patricia Renzetti, and its repertoire includes classical works and original ballets, including Vincent Van GoghAvoca – A Tale of Molly Brown and The Birth of Rock and Roll.”

At home performing in the Lakewood Cultural Center and Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre in Denver, the Ballet Ariel company also tours the West and offers training at their Denver dance studio at 7808 E. Cherry Creek South Dr., Suite 209. To learn more about the company, visit BalletAriel.org or call 303-945-4388.

This most-appealing event for children on the schedule at the Tabor Opera House is part of their first season under management by the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation. The grand theater, built in 100 days in 1879, has been the hallmark of Leadville’s standing history and living monument of the Colorado Silver Boom. But having passed through many hands over the last century and threatened by time to be forgotten or fall to ruin, the building was purchased last year by the city of Leadville with grant funding and donations. The city has since leased it to the preservation foundation, under whose stewardship a new vision has been designed to fully renovate the building within 10 years.

Tickets for Saturday’s performance of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi are $12 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Purchase them online at BrownPaperTickets.com or at the opera house box office at 308 Harrison Ave. in Leadville during touring hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more about the Tabor Opera House, future and past performances, visit TaborOperaHouse.net or call 719-486-8409.