The show-stopping Breck arts fest offers a bit of everything

In three short years, the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts has proven itself one of the best reasons to head toward the Rockies in the summer.

BIFA, as it’s called, stands apart from other summer arts events by taking a free-wheeling and inclusive view of culture. While most fests build their following by specializing in one genre — the Aspen Music Festival is all about classical, the Vail Dance Festival concentrates on ballet and ballroom — BIFA brings all that art activity under one show-stopping umbrella. There’s a bit of everything: theater, visual arts, classical and pop concerts, and plenty of family fare.

It also manages to make art that’s imported from different corners of the globe seem right at home in a mid-sized mountain town by blending it seamlessly with existing local culture. A visitor might encounter a guitarist on one of the area’s popular hiking trails or hear musicians play from perches up in the trees. It’s high art but with a high-country sensibility.

“Projects in BIFA are selected because they have a sense of adventure, play and creativity, which embodies the spirit of our town,” said festival producer Robb Woulfe, who heads nonprofit Breckenridge Creative Arts.

Woulfe’s curatorial mission for BIFA — sensitive to what he calls Breck’s “environmentally conscious, nature-loving inhabitants” combined with the town’s “pioneering attitude and willingness to take risks” — allows him space to program adventurous fare, and to pluck interesting offerings from across the globe.

The opening weekend, for example, featured Australia’s Polyglot Theatre and its interactive “Ants,” which had giant insects roving about the town park leaving trails of breadcrumbs. Children, scores of them wearing their own antennae, were happy to help.

This weekend, the interactive theater component will come from the Dutch company Close-Act Theatre, which arrives with “Birdmen,” starring “large, illuminated, pterodactyl-like creatures” set to– descend upon downtown.

Attractions range from the eerie and peculiar, like Craig Walsh’s giant projections of local Breck citizens on trees, to the inviting and colorful, like “Los Trompos,” by Mexican designers Hector Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, which fall somewhere between art installation and playground equipment, allowing folks to sit in, climb on and spin around.

But the festival’s real winners are more subtle and perfect for a bit of kicking back. “Acoustic Flow,” for example, is a series of early morning yoga classes held along the Blue River and accompanied by classical music. The events are a partnership with the Breckenridge

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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