New Mexico Set Designer Will Display Artwork at Premiere of Springtime Ballet “Thumbelina”

California Contemporary Ballet Delighted to Host After-Performance Displays of Miniaturized Set Pieces

La Canada, CA — Kurt Bowker, a New Mexico artist and owner of Advanced Concept Group, has created several large set pieces for the upcoming premiere of California Contemporary Ballet's (http://www.CalBallet.com) new springtime production “Thumbelina” on June 29 and 30. And he will be displaying beautiful, functional display art in the lobby after the show.

With the use of a huge trailer, Kurt Bowker is packing up 10ft metal flowers and 5ft metal toadstools that will be featured onstage in the ballet, along with several works he also has prepared for display and sale in the lobby at Glendale Community College Theater, June 29 & 30. He will also pack up his four year old daughter, Kyrah, who will appear in the ballet as a Dew Drop. They will travel from Moriarty, New Mexico where Mr. Bowker lives on a large horse ranch and will arrive in La Canada this week. 

The performance of “Thumbelina” will be filled with his colorful flowers. Adapted from the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this new ballet will tell the story of the thumb size girl, Thumbelina, who is born from a tulip and undergoes various adventures in her quest for love. Set pieces are designed large in order to make the cast appear small, and will include beautiful flowers & toadstools made of painted sheet metal.

Bowker, a general contractor who has performed a variety of jobs for his community, discovered that he could use the scrap metal on his property that was left over from odd jobs to create many different types of functional and display art of all size. Mr. Bowker states, “Creating art has been a sideline until Aerin Holt asked if I could make huge flowers and toadstools for her ballet.” Bowker's daughter appeared in Ms. Holt's ballet of Snow Queen last December. “After seeing that production, I was excited to be involved with a new creative endeavor collaborating with Aerin. For the past several months, I’ve not been getting much sleep. It’s been a big project to design, weld and shape all these over-sized toadstools and flowers.”

Mr. Bowker has also built the large metal Tulip that will open (with use of hydraulics) to reveal the tiny Thumbelina (aka, Jaclyn Stryker who will perform the role). He notes, “The upside of using sets made of metal is that Thumbelina will be able to slide down a flower petal to get to the dance floor and some of the fairies will be able to sit on leaves of the tall flowers.” Mr. Bowker is as excited as anyone to see his creations on stage with the dancers. Once Bowker delivers these giant beauties his work won’t be done as he directs the crew on the use of the sets backstage during the show.

Lead choreographer and art director Aerin Holt says, “We are very excited about working with Kurt’s creations. This ballet will be a melding of contemporary dance, classical ballet and aerial arts, and a perfect choice for the entire family.” A further description of the ballet can be found at http://goo.gl/D2eVQ

For more information about Kurt Browker and his company, visit http://advanceconceptgroup.com/ His sheet metal sculptures will be on display at the premiere of “Thumbelina” by California Contemporary Ballet, which will be at Glendale Community College (1500 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA) on June 29th at 7:30 PM, and on June 30th at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $20–$30 at http://www.CalBallet.com/tickets. Group tickets are also available.

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