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Ballet Lover

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Artistic Director, Teacher, Fan, Dancegoer
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    Salt Lake City
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    United States

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  1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 15, 2020 PROMOTIONS, RETIREMENTS ANNOUNCED FOR 20/21 SEASON SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute announced the roster for the 57th season today, which includes three prominent promotions within the company, three notable retirements, and three new hires--most being elevated from the Frederick Q. Lawson Ballet West Academy. Soloist Jenna Rae Herrera, who joined Ballet West II in 2007 from Ontario, California, will be promoted to First Soloist, and fellow Soloist Hadriel Diniz, who started at Ballet West in 2015 from Minas Gerais, Brazil will also become a First Soloist. In addition, Demi-Soloist Emily Neale, from Acton, Massachusetts, who started as a Trainee with Ballet West Academy and was later hired by the Company in 2016, will be promoted to Soloist. “These three dancers are elegant and dedicated artists,” said Sklute. “They have proven themselves repeatedly with their dancing, artistry, hard work, and commitment to the Company. It has been my joy to be able to nurture their careers thus far, and I am looking forward to their on-going progress as all three have so much potential for the future.” A significant retirement, First Soloist Sayaka Ohtaki ends her performing career and will be moving back to her native Japan after being with the company for 10 years. Ohtaki has been an esteemed member of the troupe; her principal roles included Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Cio Cio San in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, George Balanchine’s Emeralds, and recently the title character in Sklute’s own production of Giselle. “Sayaka is a rare and gifted artist whose unique combination of delicacy and strength made her infinitely fascinating as a performer,” said Sklute. “She will certainly be missed and I wish her the very best for the future.” Demi-Soloist Trevor Naumann, who began his career at Ballet West in 2009, is also a notable retirement. “Trevor is a beautiful dancer and deeply committed member of the Company,” said Sklute. “Additionally, he has grown into a choreographer with a distinctive style. It is a gift I know he will continue to build upon.” Earlier this year, First Soloist Christopher Sellars retired after a distinguished 15 -year career that he started as a charter member of Ballet West II in 2005. Sellars has performed a wide and varied repertoire and has become one of the most beloved members of Ballet West both onstage and off. In January, he joined Ballet West Academy as a principal faculty member. “I am thrilled to be able to keep Christopher in our family,” said Sklute. “I am grateful that he will be able to impart his immense knowledge and love of our art form to our students.” Three Ballet West II dancers have accepted positions in the Corps: Nicole Fannéy from Cary, North Carolina; Noel Jensen from Carlsbad, California; Vinicius Lima from Vitoria, Brazil. All three started with the organization as members of the Ballet West Academy Professional Training Division. New faces in Ballet West II include four graduates from the Ballet West Academy: Amelia Dencker from Rockville, Maryland; Jacob Hancock from Lehi, Utah; Roland Jones from Poolesville, Maryland; and Ella Schultze from Seattle, Washington. The troupe also welcomes Youngstown, Ohio-native Austin Dabney, previously with Boston Ballet II; and Alpine, Utahn Rylee Rogers, who danced the role of Clara in Ballet West’s The Nutcracker for two years running in 2012 and 2013. “I am particularly proud of the talent that has been nurtured through the Frederick Q Lawson Ballet West Academy,” said Sklute. “When I started with Ballet West there were no dancers in the Company who had come out of our Academy and hardly any from Ballet West II. For the 20/21 season, we will have 24 graduates from Ballet West II in the main company, including four of our principals, and a total of 17 who moved up from the Academy.” Sklute adds, “This speaks to the level of our training both at the student and pre-professional level. I maintain a strong commitment to moving our students and second company members up and seeing them grow into leading artists with Ballet West.” Ballet West’s 20/21 season will open October 23 with Ben Stevenson’s Dracula. MEDIA CONTACT Joshua Jones 801-414-4101 | jjones@balletwest.org
  2. https://balletwest.org/news/promotions-and-company-roster-announced-for-56th-season
  3. Ballet West First Soloist Allison Tilton and 12 week old Ajax Tilton in company class:
  4. This likely should go on the links page. Deseret News review of Swan Lake. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900055211/dance-review-if-you-go-to-one-ballet-west-performance-this-year-make-it-swan-lake.html
  5. Christopher Ruud's last two performances of Swan Lake February 22 & 23 https://balletwest.org/news/ballet-west-reprises-timeless-classic-swan-lake
  6. Willam Christensen also created the first American versions of "Swan Lake" and "Coppelia". in 2013 Ballet West reconstructed his version of "The Firebird" and in the late nineties they presented his "Nothin' Doin' Bar" SFB actually had 2 Christensen versions of The Nutcracker - the original 1944 by Willam which Ballet West still performs to this day (which The Traveling Ballerina reviewed) and then from the mid 1950's through the early 80's his brother Lew's version when Lew took over as AD after Willam left to return to Utah (this is the version I actually grew up seeing). Helgi Tomaason staged his own Nutcracker ion the late 1980's. "Filling Station" was actually created by Lew Christensen not Willam.
  7. Two news items addressing the controversy over Asian representation by a dance company in Salt Lake City: SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/2018/11/15/scott-d-pierce-ksl/ ABC NEWS (Salt Lake City): https://www.abc4.com/news/local-news/asian-gestures-made-by-odyssey-dance-theatre-in-ksl-segment-causes-backlash/1602901295
  8. Artists of Ballet West in George Balanchine's Diamonds © The Balanchine Trust | Photo by Beau Pearson Jewels NOW - NOVEMBER 10 "An extraordinary experience," said LoveDanceMore. "Awe-inspiring, a triumph!" exclaimed Daily Chronicle. And, Deseret News called it "intoxicating." Don't miss this glittering ballet. Only five performances left! BUY NOW LEARN MORE Artists of Ballet West in George Balanchine's Emeralds © The Balanchine Trust | Photo by Beau Pearson Emeralds is the most quiet and subtle work of the Jewels trilogy. The ballet recalls the 18thcentury French courts–their romances, nuanced glances, and private intrigues. Principal Artists Katherine Lawrence and Christopher Sellars in George Balanchine's Rubies © The Balanchine Trust | Photo by Beau Pearson Rubies attacks the senses and gets the blood pounding. With its daring and almost reckless sense of abandon, it brings us into a wild 1920’s-era America. Principal Artists Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell in George Balanchine's Diamonds © The Balanchine Trust | Photo by Beau Pearson The magnitude and scope of Diamonds exemplify the grandeur and soul of imperial Russia. From intimacy to a stage so full it dazzles us and leaves us breathless. Diamonds is the perfect close to a masterful evening of Jewels. Thank You to Our Sponsors Unsubscribe | Forward | View in browser Thanks for being part of the Ballet West family! You are receiving this email because you purchased a ticket for a Ballet West event, or signed up through our website. Ballet West 52 West 200 South Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
  9. https://frontrowreviewersutah.com/?p=7671 http://lovedancemore.org/reviews/ 2 blog reviews of weekend one. with Washington Ballet and Richmond Ballet.
  10. The Fedorova version of The Nutcracker from the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo was also the version Robert Joffrey used as a framework for his original 1987 version. George Verdak taught it to the company.
  11. Agreed about the East Coast vs. West Coast - as someone who lived and worked in NY for nearly 20 years. And you are correct that Nutcracker took off as a National holiday tradition after Balanchine's - indeed if I am not mistaken it was really in the 1960's when it took off throughout the country. Watt's was one of my all time favorite dancers and she is certainly articulate and a wonderful speaker and advocate but a TED talk is big forum and should be more carefully researched. All Christensen disciples and Utahns bristle at this often made mistake about Mr. B's Nutcracker.
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