On Sunday evening, Wheeler Opera House staff welcomed Italian theater company,

Compagnia TPO (Teatro di Piazza o d’Occasione), to Aspen for a week-long residency. This pioneering, multi-disciplinary performance group melds music, dance, art, sculpture, digital media, lighting, and sound into a one-of-kind, interactive experience. While in Aspen, the group will study the Aspen area to create a commissioned, interactive environmental piece adapted to the valley’s character, monuments, and ecosystem that will be presented in the spring of 2024 at the Wheeler Opera House.

As part of Compagnia TPO’s residency and in collaboration with the Wheeler’s 2023-2024 outreach campaign, Executive Director Lisa Rigsby Peterson and Front of House Coordinator Ashley Massow joined two of the company’s dancers at Riverview Elementary School in Glenwood Springs on Monday morning for interactive workshops with both the Kindergarten and 1st grade classes. 

The dancers spent 30 minutes per class and took students through an interpretive movement exercise embodying the life cycle of a butterfly. Students identified the three phases of the butterfly’s life cycle – egg, caterpillar, and butterfly – and practiced and explored movements to represent each. Through interactive dance movement, the students were able to learn about butterflies in a new, interactive way. 

The students were receptive to the dancers and spent the 30-minute session flowing, laughing, and experimenting with movement. Encouraged to “take up space” and “paint the room with color” students were free to explore the suggested movement patterns however they felt compelled.

The Wheeler Opera House is excited to continue our ongoing outreach initiatives in 2023-2024 and is thrilled to have the interest of schools valley-wide.  Compagnia TPO will continue to meet with environmental and children’s-centric organizations and nonprofits throughout the week in preparation for their commissioned piece which will be performed at the Wheeler Opera House in the spring of 2024.