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Wonderbound’s Garrett Ammon talks dance, music, collaborating with Gasoline Lollipops on Mile High Stash

Garrett Ammon Wonderbound mile high stash interview dance company music colorado denver

Wonderbound is a Denver-based contemporary ballet company with a more than ten-year history creating innovative and original performances, often in collaboration with Colorado musicians. In fact, many of their works have included a live band performing right alongside the dancers.

For Wonderbound’s latest production, The Sandman, the troupe is joined by the Gasoline Lollipops, who play live during the entire performance. In fact, The Sandman is credited to Wonderbound’s artistic director and choreographer Garrett Ammon as well as Gasoline Lollipop singer/songwriter/bandleader Clay Rose, whose songs inspired the characters and story.

Adam Perry, who hosts Colorado podcast Mile High Stash, recently sat down with Ammon to talk about the origins of Wonderbound, why Ammon and his wife Dawn Fay (Wonderbound’s President) landed in Colorado, how they moved from dancing to forming their own company, and his collaboration with Clay Rose on The Sandman.

A few highlights from the conversation:

On his relationship with Fay (with whom he used to dance as members of Ballet Memphis):

“You’re being incredibly intimate with each other all the time. You spend most of your waking hours together. If you’re not a dancer, you can’t really understand what it is to be a dancer — not only the pressures and demands of it, but also the drive of it, the need to do it. Very quickly, we became partners off stage and we became partners on stage.”

On working with Clay Rose: 

“The moment I start hearing Clay’s lyrics, I start seeing [his characters] in the flesh. I start to see their world and their lives and who they are…it drives me into a kind of creation mode of, ‘OK, how do these people know each other? What’s the conflict, and what [are] their motivations?’ I’m taken aback sometimes about the things that are in his lyrics.” 

On taking chances:

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s ballsy,’ but then he [Rose] kind of said the same thing about my choreography. He’s, like, ‘I can’t believe you actually did that on stage,’ If we’re going to take on a subject, we’re going to dig in and be brutally honest about it. We’re going to dive into some probably pretty heavy territory.” 

The Sandman runs through May 14 at Wonderbound’s new space at 3824 Dahlia St. in Denver, Colo., and limited tickets are available on the Wonderbound website.

Hear the full Garrett Ammon interview on the Mile High Stash podcast, available through your favorite streaming service.

Visit the Mile High Stash website for past episodes and more information on the show and host Adam Perry.

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