Closing its 1988-89 season in style, Ballet West will offer three pieces by two great choreographers at the Capitol Theater March 29-April 3.
The program will include "Swan Lake" Act II, with music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Ivanov, and two works by George Balanchine - the "Symphony in C" and "Bugaku." The six performances at the Capitol Theater will be nightly at 7:30, Wednesday-Saturday and again on April 3, also at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets ranging from $6 to $36 are available at Smith'sTix, or at the Ballet West box office in the theater, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; or call 533-5555 or 888-8499 for charge card purchases.Hard though it is for modern audiences to imagine, "Swan Lake" was produced unsuccessfully three times, including its premiere in 1877, before becoming a great popular success. In 1895 at the Maryinsky theater in St. Petersburg, the joint choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned the tide, making of "Swan Lake" one the ballet world's enduring popular classics.
For most viewers, the essence of "Swan Lake" lies in the so-called "white" acts, whose ethereal movement, almost inseparable from the romantic Tchaikovsky score, perhaps best typifies Ivanov's genius.
In the second act, Prince Siegfried comes upon the swans, temporarily restored to human form and dancing in the moonlight beside their enchanted lake, and falls in love with their beautiful queen.
"I chose to program this act as a preview, to intrigue the audience about next year's season opener," said artistic director John Hart. (The full-length ballet will be seen in September 1989.) Costumes and scenery by Peter Cazalet will again be used.
Though America took George Balanchine to its heart for half a century, one must not forget that he too was Russian born and Russian by temperament, with a technique and style that sprang from the Russian classics.
His "Symphony in C," set to Bizet's symphony of the same designation, is a favorite among Balanchine's ballets; a big, important-looking work that utilizes a pair of soloists and small corps in each of its four movements, and builds to one of Balanchine's most thrilling finales for full ensemble. It is early Balanchine, dating to 1947, when he did it for the Paris Opera Ballet, calling it "Le Palais de Cristal." Francia Russell of Pacific Northwest Ballet set the piece on Ballet West, and its revival is supervised by Sondra Sugai.
Lisa Lockerd and Charles Flachs exemplify the sort of egalitarian artistry that is encouraged to flourish at Ballet West. They will be soloists in the second, slow movement of the symphony, and are learning the "Swan Lake" Odette and Siegfried, though not expected to perform them this season.
After considerable experience elsewhere, both feel they have found a haven for further development at Ballet West, not to mention a compatible partnership.
The tall, willowy Lockerd was born and raised in Dallas, where she studied with Annie Etgen and Bill Atkinson, and danced with the regional Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. In New York City she studied at the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theater School, before joining the San Francisco Ballet for three years under Michael Smuin. She came to Ballet West in 1986, where she has advanced steadily to more important parts, and has been named a soloist for next season.
Flachs was born and raised in Philadelphia, but went to high school in Canada. He took up dancing at 18, when he began college at Pennsylvania's West Chester State University. Even then he began with modern. Among his prominent teachers were Margerita Desaa and John White, both pupils of Alicia Alonzo. Flachs has danced with the ballet companies of Hartford, San Antonio and Washington, D.C., where he worked under Mary Day and Choo San Gho, and Columbus, Ohio. He danced for eight years with Cincinnati Ballet, where he met and married Rose Marie Wurzer, also a current member of Ballet West.
"Dancers are happy where they can work and contribute," said Flachs. "I have had many opportunities since I've been in Utah, to dance all kinds of ballets in many different styles. (Guest choreographer) Val Caniparoli liked me and gave me a chance to assimilate something quite different. Both I and Rose are amazed at the beauty of Salt Lake City, and we find it a nice place to live."
Lisa agrees, though she admitted to a little culture shock upon first coming from the Bay area. "But I love the mountains and having more time to myself. I spend breaks in New York, catching up on what's going on there, but it's gratifying how much companies outside of New York have grown and expanded. I am grateful for my early experiences in regional ballet, which gives dancers so much opportunity to develop and gain ease without professional pressure."
Both have had considerable experience with Balanchine in their previous companies. Lisa finds it especially gratifying to be dancing "Symphony in C," the same ballet with which she began her career at Ballet West; only this time she's advanced from the corps of the slow movement to soloist.
Concluding the program will be the spectacular "Bugaku," an exotic, even erotic, short work reminiscent of Japanese court dance, with some taxing acrobatics for the lead couple. The piece has been a virtuoso showcase for the right dancers (as it has been for Ballet West's Rhonda Lee) since Balanchine choreographed it in 1963.
"Bugaku" was first danced by Ballet West in 1986, in a program of tribute to Balanchine, and revived in 1988. Music is by Toshiro Mayuzumi, and costumes by Karinska. The piece was staged for Ballet West by Rosemary Dunleavy of New York City Ballet.