N.Y. institute awards Ballet West's Ruud choreography grant

Published: Saturday, June 30 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Ballet West has been awarded a Fellowship Initiative grant from the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of New York City Ballet, to support the development of new choreography in a studio setting. The choreographer will be Christopher Ruud.

Peter Martins, founder and artistic director of the institute, said in a news release, "The fellowship is meant to help ballet companies to create an environment in which a choreographer can develop ideas without the pressure of stage production. The institute is committed to classical choreographers who will be creating works for the future."

Ruud's new work — "Strum" — features three separate sections for three different couples each performed in a different style. "Strum" is set to Manuel M. Ponce's "Preambulo and Allegro vivo," performed by Christopher Parkening; "Bana Mali" by Bob Brozman and Debashish Bhattacharya; and "Sweet Little Angel" by B.B. King.

"It is so seldom that new choreographers are afforded this kind of chance to create," Ruud said in a news release. "It is an honor and privilege to be granted this fellowship and to receive this extraordinary opportunity."

A native of San Francisco, Ruud began his training at the San Francisco Ballet School. He studied there for seven years before training at the University of Utah Ballet Department. He joined Ballet West in 1998, was promoted to soloist in 2001 and principal in 2004. He begins full time as director of Ballet West II in July.

"I nominated Christopher for this fellowship because I believe he has a significant future as a choreographer," Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute said.

Ruud has toured throughout the United States and abroad including The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Chicago, multicity tours in China and in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Festival.

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