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Freidann Parker, 77; Dancer, Co-Founder of Colorado Ballet

August 23, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Freidann Parker, 77, co-founder of the Colorado Ballet, died Aug. 2 at a hospital in Denver of complications from E. coli infection, which was diagnosed in early July.

Colorado Ballet co-founder Lillian Covillo met Parker in the late 1940s in a dance class taught by Martha Wilcox. The two began the Covillo-Parker School of Dance, then a fledgling ballet company.

After an ambitious double bill in 1961, Covillo and Parker created Colorado Concert Ballet, which presented Denver's first "Nutcracker" the following season. Every performance sold out. By 1978, the board of directors more than doubled its budget to $100,000, and Colorado Ballet was born. Today its budget has grown to $7 million with a roster of 40 dancers.

A native of Cheyenne Wells, Colo., Parker's first dance lessons were with Iris Potter. She later trained with modern-dance pioneer Hanya Holm.

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