Dance

Ballet West’s beloved “Nutcracker” shines like a diamond in 75th anniversary – Dec 08, 2019

Eliana Smith as Clara (left) joins the battle in Ballet West’s The Nutcracker. Photo: Beau Pearson

It’s not often that a U.S. Congressman introduces a performance of The Nutcracker. But on Saturday night Representative Ben McAdams joined Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute and executive director Michael Scolamiero on stage to read a proclamation marking the 75th anniversary of Willam Christensen’s staging of  Tchaikovsky’s seasonal favorite.

McAdams ended his statement with a wish for “75 more years of successful productions,” which elicited much applause. It was a lofty … Read More

Dance Theatre of Harlem lively, magisterial in Ogden debut – Nov 10, 2019

The Dance Theatre of Harlem performed Saturday night at the Browning Center for the Performing Arts in Ogden.

The lobby of the Browning Center for the Performing Arts was bustling with activity Saturday night as dance patrons young and old mingled with Weber State University professors and students. The buzz was warranted: it was the first time Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH)— which is celebrating its 50th anniversary—appeared in Ogden.

DTH founders Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook started the company in 1969 following the assassination of Martin Luther … Read More

Ballet West II provides Grimm delights with “Snow White” – Nov 09, 2019

Claire Wilson danced the title role in Ballet West II’s Snow White Friday night at the Capitol Theatre. Photo: Beau Pearson

Like most fairy tales, Snow White features the traditional magical elements––a talking mirror, a poisoned apple.

Yet in the new world premiere production, presented by Ballet West II and Ballet West Academy Friday evening at the Capitol Theatre, there are even more delights—like the Grimm Brothers themselves.

The brothers are featured as characters, Jakob and Wilhelm. Prior to each scene, they acted out the narration (provided by … Read More

Ballet West provides context and spectacle with “Balanchine’s Ballets Russes” – Nov 02, 2019

Apollo is among the works performed by Ballet West in “Balanchine’s Ballets Russes.”

Typically a program note from an artistic director consists of a page or two of information about the performance and its significance. 

For “Balanchine’s Ballets Russes,” the opening show of Ballet West’s 2019-2020 season, the program note by Adam Sklute sprawls to five well-filled and informative pages providing a thoughtful and thought-provoking essay covering the importance of the Ballets Russes, Ballet West’s investment in its productions, and historical connections between George Balanchine and Lew Christensen, … Read More

Ballet West to open season with bounteous Balanchine – Oct 22, 2019

George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky in rehearsal for Agon in 1957. Photo: Martha Swope

In its brief two decades, the Ballets Russes attracted a roster of collaborators that reads like a who’s who of arts history: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Igor Stravinsky, Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska, and Coco Chanel, to name a few. This multidisciplinary dance company radically changed the performing arts, inspired fashion trends, and even caused a riot. 

In 2009, Ballet West presented “Treasures of Ballets Russes,” and in 2016, the company … Read More

Ballet West closes with compelling visions of the future – May 13, 2019

Beckanne Sisk and Christopher Ruud in Edwaard Liang’s “Constant Light” at Ballet West. Photo: Beau Pearson

Ballet West’s performance Saturday night at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center was not just the final one for the annual Choreographic Festival, but also the closing night for the company’s 2018-19 season. So it made sense that the audience burst into applause after Christopher Ruud performed a duet in the closing ballet, since Ruud is retiring after 21 years of performances with Ballet West.

At … Read More

Poetry on pointe: Ballet West presents a powerful, heart-rending “Onegin” – Apr 09, 2019

Beckanne Sisk and Chase O’Connell in Ballet West’s “Onegin.” Photo: Beau Pears

Classic ballet stories tend to be one-dimensional. There is a prince in search of his true love. He will meet her in the first act and each will be star-struck by the other. Their goal, to be together for eternity, will hit some snags because of a witch or sorcerer. They will overcome this obstacle and be together, even if in death.

Onegin is not that kind of ballet.

Ballet West’s … Read More

Ballet West unfolds a Terpsichorean feast for 2019-2020 season – Feb 27, 2019

Two major anniversaries will highlight Ballet West’s 2019-20 season.

The first commemorates the 110th anniversary of the legendary Ballets Russes and spotlights three works choreographed by Georges Balanchine. Originally a member of Sergei Diaghilev’s troupe, Balanchine emigrated to the United States and founded the New York City Ballet.

The triple bill, “Balanchine’s Ballets Russes,” opens the company’s new season, running from October 25-November 2, and features three early works Balanchine choreographed for the company. The first, Igor Stravinsky’s Le chant du rossignol (The … Read More

Sisk’s shining performance makes Ballet West’s “Swan Lake” a revival to treasure – Feb 11, 2019

Beckanne Sisk (with Christopher Ruud behind) in Ballet West’s production of “Swan Lake.” Photo: Luke Isley

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is a celebrated and beloved ballet classic. And while most companies will stick to the tried and true traditional staging. not every dance company hews closely to the ballet’s origins.

Matthew Bourne’s staging scandalized audiences when he turned the part of the swan maidens into a piece for male dancers in feathered harem pants. Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, created for the Pennsylvania  Ballet, … Read More

Ballet West’s shiny new “Nutcracker” is a holiday treat for all seasons – Dec 14, 2018

Beckanne Sisk and Chase O’Connell in Ballet West’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” Photo: Luke Isley

[Note: This review originally appeared on Washington Classical Review.]

‘Tis the season for the annual run of The Nutcracker in the Kennedy Center Opera House. This is the area’s only performances of this evergreen ballet this year with full staging and live music, down to the magical children’s choir in the snow scene. In the venue’s rotation of prominent American companies, Ballet West was back with its classic version of Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score, based … Read More