Ballet West announces changes for new season

By REPORTER

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, July 21 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

Ballet West has renewed Adam Sklute's contract as artistic director through June 2017.

Quinn Farley

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SALT LAKE CITY — Ballet West has announced a number of changes to its artist staff and some dancer promotions and additions.

The ballet's board of directors renewed the contract of Artistic Director Adam Sklute through June 2017.

"Adam is a respected leader, a visionary and a gifted artist," Ballet West Board Chair Shahab Saeed said in a news release. Sklute came to Ballet West in March 2007 by way of The Joffrey Ballet, where he was associate artistic director. He began his career as a dancer with The Joffrey in the mid 1980s.

Sklute has bolstered the artistic staff to include three new faces.

Beginning in the 2012-2013 season, former Ballet West Principal Artist Jane Wood-Smith joins the company as ballet mistress; leading dancer Christopher Ruud, while continuing to perform as a principal artist, has been appointed director of Ballet West II; and world-renowned choreographer Nicolo Fonte has been named resident choreographer for Ballet West.

In other changes, Haley Henderson-Smith, Thomas Mattingly, Elizabeth McGrath, Ronnie Underwood and Arolyn Williams have all been promoted from soloist to first-soloist; Adrian Fry has jumped up from corps-artist to soloist; Sayaka Ohtaki moves from demi-soloist to soloist; Katie Critchlow has been promoted from corps-artist to demi-soloist; and Beckanne Sisk goes from new artist to demi-soloist.

Moving up from Ballet West II is Amy Potter as a new artist and Ronald Tilton and Joshua Whitehead as first-year apprentices. Sarah Hochman, formerly of Pennsylvania Ballet II, joins Ballet West as a New Artist.

Joining Ballet West II, Ballet West's pre-professional company, are Mary Ann Schaefer, who graduates from The Ballet West Academy Professional Training Division; Chase O'Connell from The Paris Opera Ballet School; Logan Martin from The Houston Ballet Academy; Jordan Veit from Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet School; and Kazlyn Nielsen from Provo, who danced with The Provo Civic Ballet.

Leaving the ballet at the end of the current season are artists Aidan DeYoung and Kuei-Hsien Chu; second-year apprentice Kathryn Meeusen; and Ballet West II members Kathleen Martin and Ryan Sargent.

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