I am not sure if everyone knows this or not, but the original team of CTB was all discovered in the small mountain town of Crested Butte. It is a tiny community of about 4,000 residents, as the crow flies just 25 miles over the Maroon Bells from Aspen.
Dan Rubinoff, our Executive Director, had lived here since the 90’s and had heard about Tracy Straus and CTB, when he founded the Slate River School. During the first years his school participated in CTB, Dan bused over students to perform with Tracy in Aspen. From there, Heather Kratz was recruited in 2008 to teach locally in CB when our theme was Africa. Tracy had been asking around town to see who would be a good fit to help her teach and all directions turned towards Heather, the African dancing fire-ball. She then relocated to the Vail area where she ran our year-round in-school programming for over 5 years. It was a year later that Tracy hired me to do some graphic design. As a last-minute decision, she asked me to assist a residency in Gunnison after finding out my background and history of dance in the valley. I immediately fell in love with the work.
Here I am, nine years later, coming back home to teach and direct our CTB show for its 13th year. Originally, when I met Tracy, I never could have imagine the places this job would take me, much less leave this little slice of heaven called Crested Butte. Since 2009, I have traveled all over Colorado to places in the North Fork Valley, Eagle County, and all over the greater Denver area. I have landed in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico where I run our program, Celebrando el Ritmo, and teach over 500 local children annually. I have been reminded of how big our world is and have spread my wings into new places.
My yearly homecoming to teach in Crested Butte is like a big family reunion. I am now teaching my friend’s children and seeing old students graduate high school. I get to reunite myself with the West Elk mountains and pedal my bike over trails that I pedaled my first mountain bike on over 15 years ago. To walk through the doors at the Crested Butte Community School, a place that has had CTB for so many years, is like a big warm hug. Our program is embraced, celebrated, and appreciated. The children look forward to their CTB Fall residency all year.
To Celebrate the Beat and the town of Crested Butte, I owe you a big thank you! You both have shaped me into the woman I am today. Both have embraced me, honored uniqueness, and have launched me into the creative life I am living now. For this I am extremely grateful. We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong. I am so happy to be part of the CTB and Crested Butte family.
By Colleen Macomber