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In honor of a teacher: New York City Ballet members to perform at Draper's Moonlight Dance

By Blair Howell

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 23 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

DRAPER — Audiences of Draper Amphitheater’s “Moonlight Dance” on June 25 will have the rare treat of performances by four principal dancers from the widely celebrated New York City Ballet in the dance concert’s mixed bill of dance forms.

Utah natives Robert Fairchild and his sister Megan Fairchild will join Andrew Veyette, Megan’s husband, and Tiler Peck, Robert’s frequent dance partner, to present dances from genius choreographer George Balanchine, who founded the world-renowned New York City Ballet.

But what makes this event more rare than a blue moon occurring on a Sunday are the contributions being made as a tribute to Kaelynne Oliphant, the teacher — and friend — who gave the Fairchilds their early dance training in Utah, before their rise to fame in New York City.

“There is no one more caring than Kaelynne,” said Megan Fairchild. “Her heart is huge!”

Along with dancing in honor of Oliphant, the four principals are foregoing all standard performance fees to which a principal dancer would be entitled at a similar concert.

And the George Balanchine trust, which is highly protective of Balanchine-choreographed works, has not only authorized this novel performance outside of an established dance company, but has agreed to “issue a royalty-free agreement in honor of Megan and Robbie’s longtime teacher.”

Balletomanes along with casual ballet observers will appreciate the significance of this performance. It is all due to the exceptional influence one teacher can have on students.

“Kaelynne has always been such a special person in my life,” Fairchild says. “Since I left New York, Kaelynne has constantly checked up on Robbie and I, and knows what we will be dancing and even sends us texts or emails before special shows I might think she has no idea we are about to perform. I know if she lived closer, she would probably be here once a week supporting and cheering for us in the audience.”

“It was a real honor for me to teach Megan and Robbie,” Oliphant says. The word ‘child prodigy' is bounced around a lot, and you don’t really believe it until you see it. I knew when they were 5 years old that they would enjoy great success as dancers, and it was a very overwhelming experience.”

The inspirational teacher has followed their careers and had a significant impact on the dancers personally as well.

“The world of ballet is very competitive, and I always wanted them to know that there was someone in the background cheering them on,” Oliphant says.

This will be the Fairchilds’ first-ever performance in the state since relocating to New York, and they are “so excited to have an opportunity to come back to Utah and perform for friends and family,” says Fairchild, whose parents continue to reside in the Fairchild family home in Sandy.

“A lot of people in our company come from the East Coast, so they are able to share what they are doing at the New York City Ballet with a lot of important people in their lives. We have a lot of important friends and family in Utah, and we can't wait to share what we do with them!”

Fairchild remembers one incident that continues to amuse her: “Kaelynne told my mother one time, after teaching my brother's ballet class, that he is the reason she will never have kids! But now she has a beautiful family of three daughters, so I guess it didn't really stick.”

The Balanchine-choreographed dances scheduled are “Danses Concertantes,” to be performed by Megan Fairchild and Veyette, and the pas de deux from “Apollo,” by Robert Fairchild and Peck.

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