The newest work by Ballet West's resident choreographer Val Caniparoli is called "Prawn-watching," but it has nothing to do with the tiny crustaceans.
"It's actually the title of the music I'm using," a piece by Michael Nyman, San Franciscan Caniparoli told the Deseret News during his stay in Salt Lake City. "I liked what the music was offering."Caniparoli's work will team with the revival of George Balanchine's "Divertimento No. 15" and Eddy Toussaint's "Bonjour Brel" in Ballet West's fall repertory program, beginning Friday, Nov. 8. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. Additional performances will be presented Saturday, Nov. 9, and 13-16. There will also be matinees danced Nov. 9 and 16, at 2 p.m.
Caniparoli's interest in Nyman stems from the composer's film scores. Art films such as "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover," "The Piano" and "Prospero's Books" feature Nyman's work.
"Michael actually composed the scores before the films (which were directed by Peter Greenaway) were made," Caniparoli said. "That's how I approached my own work here. I got images from the music instead of preconceived ideas that needed music. I just let the action flow to the music."
The 25-minute project was based on the music's energy, said Caniparoli. "I can't really describe what type of music Michael composes. It's not as cold as, say, being minimalist. It's very energetic and moving.
"It was a challenging project," Caniparoli said. "At one point I didn't know where I was going to go with it. The images didn't work unless I had a vision to put them to. But once I got started, it came really fast. I just needed to focus."
Another creative aid was the Ballet West corps.
"They had to be there with me to get it all out of me," praised the choreographer. "If it wasn't for them, I'd still be wondering where things would be.
"This is an ensemble work," Caniparoli explained. "It isn't really a story dance. It's a showcase. And Ballet West has some great dancers to be showcased."
"Divertimento No. 15" is danced to Mozart's composition of the same name. The five-movement work pinpoints Balanchine's ingenious instinct of fusing the motion with music.
"Bonjour Brel" premiered in 1995. Toussaint fuses ballet, jazz and modern dance to bring forth images of love and all the luggage connected with that emotion. The dancing is set to the music of French poet and singer Jaques Brel.
Toussaint has said he took the lyrics of five Brel songs and "transposed them into movement."
The Utah Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Terence Kern, will accompany the performances.
In connection with the program, the Salt Lake Ballet Guild is sponsoring a public symposium at the Capitol Theatre, Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. and admission is $2. An in- depth talk about the program will be followed by a portion of the dress rehearsal. Due to the popularity of the event, early arrival is suggested.
- Tickets for Ballet West's fall repertory program, ranging from $10-$45, are available at all ArtTix outlets or by calling 355-ARTS (2787). Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more by calling Ballet West at 323-6920.