Ballet Nouveau chooses a pas de deux


Ballet Nouveau Colorado has ended its four-month search for a new artistic director by selecting not one but two of them.

Husband-and-wife team Garrett Ammon and Dawn Fay, currently with Ballet Memphis, will join the state’s second-largest ballet company in mid-August, replacing Artistic Director Robert Mills, who announced in January that he would leave at the end of the season.

“We really were impressed by how they had built the company with a lot of clarity from the beginning,” said Ammon over the phone from Memphis.

Broomfield-based Ballet Nouveau has grown considerably since Robert Mills joined as Artistic Director in 2004, attracting national-caliber talent and attention. Ammon, a choreographer and dancer, and Fay, a principle dancer, had been looking for an opportunity to head a ballet company, and Mills’ announcement opened the door.

Ballet Nouveau fielded dozens of applications, having cemented itself nationally with its high-profile fifth season, which ended Saturday.

Ammon and Fay sent their material to Ballet Nouveau in February, and the company quickly decided to use some of Ammon’s work in its 2007-2008 season. Meetings last week in Broomfield sealed the deal. The couple said they instantly clicked with the staff, whose names and bios they had memorized.

The company had been girding for the possibility of a directorless season.

“We were not pessimistic, but we were prepared for the worst,” said Lissy Garrison, Ballet’s Nouveau’s Executive Director. “We had no idea we’d find (people) of this caliber.”

Ammon’s accolades include an Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Fay was selected for Dance Magazine’s 2007 “25 to Watch.” Ammon founded and directs Interiorworks, Ballet Memphis’ annual workshop performance.

Ballet Nouveau’s 2007-2008 season is mostly set, but remains flexible to Ammon’s and Fay’s sensibilities. Future projects include bringing in more national choreographers and overhauling the company’s annual Nutcracker ballet.

Ammon will act as Artistic Director with Fay as Associate Artistic Director.

“She’s good at mentoring the dancers in rehearsals,” Garrison said. “He also likes a balance of being in the studio and working on project management and planning.”