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Ballet West Academy to present spring concert

Published: Sunday, May 30 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

Joshua Whitehead and Toi'ya Leatherwood rehearse for Ballet West's "Sleeping Beauty."

T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News

The Ballet West Academy will present its 2010 spring concert June 3-5 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

Academy director Peter Christie said this year's performance is "the biggest show (the Academy) has done in a very long time."

The students will perform a "Sleeping Beauty Suite" with the advanced students and a "Fairy Festival with a little Elfin Mischief" with the younger classes.

"We've also a couple of other pieces including one choreographed by (Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company's) Caine Keenan with the advanced students and the trainees, and a piece choreographed for the men by Tom Mattingly, which is a very contemporary piece," Christie said.

"Our major focus is the 'Sleeping Beauty Suite' and the 'Fairy Festival,' " he said. "It's going to be a tutu extravaganza."

Christie blended the different acts of the classic "Sleeping Beauty" for the suite.

"We focused on the third act, but we'll have all the fairy variations with the cavaliers, even though the fairies are usually in Act 1," he said. "We'll have Puss 'n' Boots, White Cat, Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, the Bluebird, and the Princess Aurora and the Prince."

The suite will give the audience an opportunity to see the depth of the Ballet West Academy, Christie said.

"The works involved students from the intermediate II classes through the company trainees," he said. "It's a broad scope and there are many opportunities for solos and group works."

Christie said having a classical piece as the main focus of a performance is important to the academy.

"For us, classical ballet training is the core of what any professional dancer in a company has to have," he said, adding there has been an amazing growth with the school in the past three or four years.

Christie attributes the progress to Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute.

"Since Adam's come on board, there is so much involvement from the artistic staff of the Ballet West company teaching classes, coaching and working with the students." Christie said. "They really do see that these students are the future of dance here with Ballet West.

"The goal is to be creating professional dancers. And while not everyone will become a professional dancer, the training needs to be highest level of training."

Christie said the academy's faculty has worked closely with Ballet West's artistic staff to develop a well-rounded syllabus. "That is to help create a strongly established (dance) vocabulary in those younger ages, which then transfers into diverse dancers as they get older.

"So, we'll have 'Sleeping Beauty,' which is the most classical piece in our repertoire, and then we'll perform Caine's and Tom's pieces, which are very contemporary and modern," Christie said. "That gives our students the opportunity to experience dancing a broad spectrum of styles."

If you go

What: Ballet West Academy

Where: Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South

When: June 3-5, 7 p.m.; June 5, 1 p.m.

How much: $20

Phone: 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787

Web: www.arttix.org

e-mail: scott@desnews.com

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