UPDATED June 1, 2016
Adventure meets art in Breckenridge, Colo. Aug. 12-21 with the return of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA) for 2016.
This year’s BIFA is a 10-day extravaganza featuring a human cannonball, a bike-in cinema series, yoga accompanied by an orchestra and the return of the popular Trail Mix series, which combines art, music, hiking and biking along the trails of Breckenridge with 24 free outdoor concerts and environmental installations.
Many of the BIFA performances and events are making their Colorado debut (events are marked with an asterisk). Here’s a more detailed listing of the signature BIFA events. Visit www.breckcreate.com/bifa for more information or to purchase tickets (starting June 13, 2016).
L’HOMME CIRQUE* with David Dimitri Aug 11, 5 pm; Aug 12-14, 11 am + 2 pm | South Gondola Lot $20 Adults, $10 Kids L’homme Cirque is a one-man circus featuring an innovative combination of acrobatics, music and dance, including everything from a human cannon ball to a climactic high-wire act, with our spectacular mountains as a backdrop. Acclaimed Swiss circus artist David Dimitri will turn the South Gondola Lot into his own high-flying playground, as he pitches a tent and performs a breathtaking solo show.
THE SWARM* by Tasha Lewis Aug 12-21 | On View Daily | Downtown Breckenridge | FREE Bridging boundaries between art, nature and everyday life, Tasha Lewis’s ephemeral installations consist of thousands of cyanotype butterflies
printed on fabric and embedded with magnets, invading metallic surfaces around town. A project that engages local volunteers to construct the butterflies, the artist will unleash her spectacular swarm and create swirling formations of colorful winged creatures throughout Breckenridge.
THE HERD* by Tasha Lewis Aug 12–21 | On View Daily | Old Masonic Hall | FREE Tasha Lewis’s installation, The Herd, consists of sculptures of antelopes, impalas and gazelles leaping high through the air. Many animals appear to emerge from, or disappear into, surrounding walls. The animals’ unexpected placement, tumultuous movement and playful coloring will spark curiosity, engaging viewers with the beauty of both natural and artificial worlds. Complementary works by Andrew Dengate and Robert Wertz will be featured in the upstairs gallery.
SILA: THE BREATH OF THE WORLD* by John Luther Adams with Steven Schick and Breckenridge Music Festival Musicians Aug 13 | 4 pm | Riverwalk Center Lawn | FREE Stroll the Riverwalk Center lawn and experience the “ecological listening” that this unique composition by John Luther Adams celebrates. Orchestra musicians will be set loose from the conductor’s baton and allowed to play at their own tempo, with just one condition: each sustained tone or rising phrase lasts the length of a full exhalation. Co-presented with Breckenridge Music Festival.
THE SAFEKEEPING OF MEMORY with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra featuring Steven Schick, conductor; Kathryn Hatmaker, violin; and Maya Beiser, cello Aug 13 | 7:30 pm | Riverwalk Center | $40, $35, $25 Reflect on the human connection to the natural and spiritual world in this special performance featuring a combination of video projections, written word and music. Maya Beiser performs World to Come and Kate Hatmaker follows with Rest These Hands, enhanced by Josh Dorman’s stop-motion animations. Guest appearance by Lake Dillon Theatre Company. Co-presented with Breckenridge Music Festival.
YOGA WITH THE BIRDS with Steven Schick and Breckenridge Music Festival Musicians Aug 14 | 8 am | Riverwalk Center Lawn | FREE Enjoy the music of nature and a gentle stretch with Meta Yoga Studios in the quiet mountain morning landscape. Starting during the Savasana of the class, the orchestra’s flute and percussion section will perform songbird songs by environmental composer John Luther Adams. Adams’s songful combination of piccolos and percussion will start your day with a connection between mind and body, self and surroundings. Co-presented with Breckenridge Music Festival.
CYCLE IN’ CINEMA Aug 14 | 6 pm | Riverwalk Center | $15 Adults, $5 Kids Part party, part screening, this event invites cycling enthusiasts of all ages to trade four wheels for two and ride their bikes to Riverwalk Center to enjoy a showcase of independent bicycle-themed films from around the world. Co-presented with Breckenridge Film Festival, in partnership with Filmed by Bike.
CALEXICO Aug 17 | 7:30 pm | Riverwalk Center | $30 Advance, $35 Day of Show Calexico is no stranger to negotiating borders. For the better part of two decades, nine albums and countless trips around the globe, Joey Burns and John Convertino have crossed musical barriers with their band, embracing a multitude of diverse styles. Their latest album, Edge of the Sun, continues to bring lonesome altcountry into collusion with Spanish horns, Portuguese fado, surf guitar and haunting strains of ambient jazz.
SAURUS + STX* by Close-Act Theatre Aug 17–21 | 11 am + 1 pm | Blue River Plaza | FREE The biggest beasts that ever walked the earth will stomp their way through downtown Breckenridge, turning Blue River Plaza into a prehistoric landscape. Created by Dutch artists Close-Act Theatre, Saurus is a spectacular piece of street theater that features stilt-walkers outfitted in 18-foot-tall dinosaur-like costumes. On alternating days, the company will perform STX, a choreographed drumming show featuring percussionists moving synchronously on stilts through the streets of downtown. Saurus performs on Aug 17, 19 and 21; STX performs on Aug 18 and 20.
THE MOTH MAINSTAGE Aug 18 | 7:30 pm | Riverwalk Center | $35, $25 The Moth is an acclaimed nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling. Each show is composed of simple, old-fashioned storytelling on thoroughly modern themes and every story is told live on stage, without notes. The Moth, a favorite of NPR listeners, makes its Breckenridge debut with an all-star lineup of favorite tellers and local gems, each with a ten-minute story of their own. Speaker lineup to be announced. Presented in partnership with KUNC.
BORN TO FLY: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity* Aug 19 | 7:30 pm | Riverwalk Center | FREE Propelled by Elizabeth Streb’s edict that “anything too safe is not action,” the STREB company challenges the assumptions of art, injury, gender, aging and human possibility. Revealing the passions behind the STREB dancers’ bruises and broken noses, this documentary film inspires audiences that are hungry for a fiercer existence in the world. Elizabeth Streb and company members will conduct a post-screening Q & A.
ASCENSION + QUAKE* by STREB Extreme Action Company Aug 20 | 12 pm + 2 pm | Riverwalk Center Lawn | FREE In Ascension, members of STREB Extreme Action Company scale a 21-foot long ladder while it rotates at varying speeds, showcasing the mental and physical strength of the performers. In Quake, the dancers hurl, tumble and perform feats of sleight of hand on a 2×16 foot sprung floor that acts as an explosive springboard.
SEA (Singular Extreme Actions)* by STREB Extreme Action Company Aug 21 | 7:30 pm | Riverwalk Center | $35 Adults, $10 Kids Created by Elizabeth Streb, the Evel Knievel of Dance, this daredevil event nimbly weaves dance, extreme sports, circus arts and Hollywood-style stunt work into a must-see performance that explores the boundaries of force, gravity, action and reaction. Their cutting-edge, dangerous talent was featured at the 2012 London Olympics and is sure to take your breath away.
For more information, visit www.breckcreate.com/bifa.
Here’s a look back at last year’s inaugural BIFA festival (2015).
The Breckenridge International Festival of Arts will paint this historic mining town red … ruby red, along with turquoise, mint green and violet.
According to Robb Woulfe, president and CEO of Breckenridge Creative Arts, the festival’s producer, BIFA is one of the newest multidisciplinary arts festivals in the U.S. and will set itself apart with appearances by public radio icon Ira Glass, performances by Chicano rock legends Los Lobos and an environmentally-provocative exhibit of blue-colored trees.
“Our debut season offers an exciting lineup of local, national and global talent, including a number of Colorado premieres and Breckenridge exclusives,” says Woulfe. “We look forward to BIFA becoming a significant addition to the state’s festival landscape and a premier destination event.”
Dozens of scheduled events, indoors and outdoors, ticketed and free, will be showcased at venues and sites throughout town. Tickets for festival events may be purchased in person at the Riverwalk Center Ticket Office at 150 W. Adams Avenue, by phone at (970) 547-3100, or online at breckcreate.org.
Featured BIFA artists and projects include: a temporary public art installation about global deforestation entitled “The Blue Trees” by Konstantin Dimopoulos; famed NPR host Ira Glass in “Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass”; Australian aerial performance troupe The Fruits in “Swoon”; avant-chamber quartet ETHEL and their nature-themed multimedia concert “Documerica”; the gravity-defying choreography and extreme-sport dance of VOLO by Diavolo; and a screening of the animated cult classic “The Triplets of Belleville” with live musical accompaniment by Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville and composer Benoît Charest.
The men’s and women’s Breckenridge stages of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge coincide with the final week of BIFA. To celebrate, the festival will present ARTCRANK BRK, an exhibit featuring hand-made, bicycle-themed posters created by local artists and Colorado-based designers. The festival will also present the bike-powered creatures of Austin Bike Zoo, a Texas collective that combines the beauty and strength of human movement with the artistry and theater of puppets.
BIFA will feature a number of free outdoor musical performances on the new Breckenridge Arts District campus as well as a program entitled Trail Mix, which combines hiking, biking, music and art along the trails of Breckenridge through “pop-up” concerts and environmental installations.
For a detailed schedule of featured BIFA events visit, breckcreate.org/bifa.
Featured BIFA Artists + Projects (asterisk denotes a Colorado premiere)
(NOTE: These are the 2015 events. For the 2016 event schedule, please scroll up or visit breckcreate.org/bifa)
The Blue Trees by Konstantin Dimopoulos* Aug 14–Sep 14, On View Daily
Blue River Plaza & Tiger Dredge Lot
The Blue Trees is a project by New Zealand-born artist Konstantin Dimopoulos, which brings environmental consciousness and social action together in a uniquely beautiful and captivating installation. In this internationally renowned event, a series of trees are colored with a water-based, environmentally safe, blue pigment, transforming the trees into sculpture. What was once taken for granted and unseen suddenly comes to the forefront of our attention and is the impetus for dialogue about global deforestation and its impact on world ecology, and how we individually and collectively shape the natural world around us. An ephemeral work, the striking ultramarine trees will gradually revert back to their natural state over a four-week period.
During Dimopoulos’ visit to Breckenridge from August 10–16, the artist will engage in free public discussions about the importance of trees to the ecosystem. The week will culminate with Dimopoulos and a team of community volunteers coloring trees at several sites in downtown Breckenridge; in the Blue River Plaza, just off Washington and Main Street, up through the Tiger Dredge Lot, immediately next to the Riverwalk Center.
The Blue Trees is ultimately a worldwide effort. The Breckenridge installation extends and reinterprets the original project launched in 2011 at the Vancouver Biennale.
Australia’s The Fruits
Aug 13–16, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm Riverwalk Center Lawn FREE
Australia’s The Fruits is a Melbourne-based, open-air performing arts company that produces and performs a remarkable style of work that fuses theater, dance and circus, using the unique elevated medium of sway poles. Perched atop 15-foot-high flexible poles of original design, the troupe delivers a sublime performance, bending and swaying in the air, captivating, and engaging the audience in absolute fascination.
Since it began, this ingenious company has created an extensive repertoire that appeals to all cultures and ages, and has thrilled audiences in 50 countries at over 450 international festivals. The company will present their signature work Swoon!, a 20-minute performance where four daredevils tell a spectacular story of love, loss, joy, and freedom against a breathtaking backdrop of the Ten Mile Range of the Rocky Mountains.
*Denotes a Colorado premiere at BIFA.
Abound by Julie Hughes* Aug 14–23, On View Daily Old Masonic Hall
Abound is an installation by San Francisco Bay Area artist, Julie Hughes. For this work, Hughes constructs a “forest” of cast paper tree skins and adorns them with handmade decorative forms, evocative of swarms.
Hughes’ work reflects on the fragile and sometimes fraught dynamic of our relationship with nature. Part theater and part blanket fort, her dream-like environments poke at the truth of our being in-the-world; the way we work things out for ourselves, navigate our experiences and construct our own realities.
Michael Ward-Bergeman and Groanbox*
With the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra Aug 15, 7:30pm
Groanbox is the trio of accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman, Canadian percussionist Paul Clifford and Franco- American guitarist and banjo player Cory Seznec. Their music is a melting pot of styles from Nashville to New Orleans, Mali to Romania, anchored by the “Freedom Boot” – a shamanistic six-foot stomping stick carrying bells, nails, rings and over 400 beer bottle tops picked up on their travels.
Joined onstage by the Breckenridge Music Festival as part of an evening of artistic adventure, the always-eclectic Groanbox will mix their deep southern blues with Cajun music, European gypsy reels and woolly mountain folk, performing their unique blend of global roots music on accordion, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica and myriad pieces of percussion, including a calabash and yew tree log.
ETHEL’s Documerica* Aug 16, 7:30pm Riverwalk Center $45–$25
Acclaimed nationwide for eclectic programming and virtuoso performances, string quartet ETHEL visits Breckenridge for the Colorado premiere of Documerica, a multimedia performance event and a moving meditation on America’s relationship to our land, our resources and ourselves.
Inspired by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Project Documerica—a massive snapshot of America showcased in an astonishing visual trove of images from the EPA archive captured during the recession-plagued tumultuous 1970s—this piece is a musical meditation accompanied by big sky vistas, ghost towns, mountains and slices of urban environments, capturing America’s complicated relationship to its natural landscape.
Featuring new music by acclaimed composers Mary Ellen Childs, Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and blues man James Kimo Williams, ETHEL is also paired with stunning projections by renowned artist Deborah Johnson.
*Denotes a Colorado premiere at BIFA.
VOLO by Diavolo Aug 18–19, 7:30pm Riverwalk Center $45–$25, $10 Kids
The thrill and high-risk athleticism of extreme sports meets the grace and beauty of dance when members of Diavolo leap, fly and twirl from surrealistic sets and oversized structures. Led by former Cirque du Soleil choreographer Jacques Heim, this company pushes the limits of contemporary dance with their gravity-defying choreography and heart-stopping aerobatics.
Part sideshow spectacle, part physical dance theater, VOLO features an ensemble of dancers, gymnasts, rock climbers and athletes who create imaginative and innovative works that thrill audiences of all ages.
Aug 19–31, On View Daily Old Masonic Hall
An international pop-up show of bicycle-inspired posters, ARTCRANK makes its Breckenridge debut with a multi- week exhibition celebrating bikes with top local design and illustration talent. The show coincides with USA Pro Challenge’s stopover in Breckenridge.
Billed as “A Poster Party for Bike People,” ARTCRANK BRK will feature hand-made, bicycle-themed posters created by 25 Colorado artists. Admission to the exhibit is free, and limited edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each. The opening night party on August 19 will also feature local craft beverages, live screen-printing, bike-inspired short films shown on an outdoor screen, DJ music and more.
ARTCRANK made its debut in Minneapolis in 2007 and has held shows in bike-friendly cities in the US, UK and France— including Portland, San Francisco, Denver, London and Paris. From the start, the show’s formula has been simple: Throw a party featuring affordable posters designed by talented local artists, celebrating bicycles and the people who ride them.
Austin Bike Zoo*
Aug 20–21, On View Daily Various Downtown Locations FREE
The Austin Bike Zoo is dedicated to creating human-powered performances that enliven urban green-spaces and celebrate the most energy-efficient mode of transportation ever invented. Featuring larger-than-life creatures powered by pedals, Austin Bike Zoo is a one-of-a-kind blend of puppetry and cycling. Their work was born out of a passion to combine the beauty and strength of human movement with the artistry and theater of puppets, and a dedication to creating interactive works.
Explore the pedal-powered art of the Austin Bike Zoo as they bring their fleet of colorful Monarch butterflies to Breckenridge during BIFA and USA Pro Challenge.
*Denotes a Colorado premiere at BIFA.
Aug 21, 7:30pm
Riverwalk Center and Lawn FREE
Since 1974, East L.A.’s Los Lobos have been exploring the artistic and commercial possibilities of American biculturalism, moving back and forth between their Chicano roots and their love of American rock and roll. Although the band first gained fame as part of the roots-rock revival in the early 1980s, they did not so much strip music down as mix it up, playing Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music such as boleros and norteños. Over forty years later, this award-winning band continues to be adored by fans and hailed by critics for their extensive range and enduring influence.
Presented in conjunction with the Breckenridge stage of the USA Pro Challenge.
Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass Aug 22, 7:30pm
As the host and producer of NPR’s award winning show “This American Life”, Ira Glass has reinvented radio, finding drama, poignancy and humor in everyday places. Named by Time magazine in 2001 as the “Best Radio Host in America,” Mr. Glass is heard on more than 500 public radio stations each week by over 1.7 million listeners. Glass will explore the art of storytelling and offer humorous slices of real life, culled from public radio’s most original program.
Premium seats include a pre-show meet-and-greet with special guest Ira Glass.
The Triplets of Belleville*
Featuring Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville and composer Benoît Charest Aug 23, 7:30pm
$45–$25, $10 Kids
Kidnapped by mysterious, square-shouldered henchmen, a Tour de France cyclist named Champion is spirited across the ocean to the teeming metropolis of Belleville. His near-sighted grandmother and faithful dog follow his trail and are taken in by a trio of eccentric jazz-era divas. The motley sleuths follow the clues to an underground speakeasy, where they entertain the crowd and now the chase is on!
This much beloved animated film is screened as composer Benoît Charest leads Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville in the live performance of his original score for the film, including his Academy Award nominated best song. In the spirit of the film, this performance immediately transports audiences to the exciting streets of 1920’s Paris and Le Jazz Hot.