Utah Ballet, under the direction of Attila Ficzere, has found a way to break through the unseen boundaries of ballet.
All the works performed Thursday gave new dimension to the art, but some were sharper than others. However, the evening was enjoyable and thought-provoking.The highlight of the evening was Hungarian choreographer Istvan Herczog's "Variations On a Dream."
The piece was a study of emotions that ran the gamut. And as its title suggests, the work was flowingly fluid and, well, dreamy.
Anguish and other burdens blossomed in the first scene, which was a group variation. The three pas de deux melded well. Feelings of tenderness, happiness and nostalgia literally wafted on the moody score by Shostakovitch. The music and dancing fit perfectly together, which gave the audience an intimate look at some of their own friendly and disturbing dreams.
Another provocative work was Michael Smuin's "The Eternal Idol," which originally had its premiere at New York's Academy of Music in 1969. The dancers then were Cynthia Gregory and Ivan Nagy.
Thursday's version was danced by Nennie Creer-King and T.J. Brinson. The dancers added moving depth to the famous Rodin sculpture. And instead of becoming a mere work of art come to life, the dancers delved deep into the dimensions of love - physical and emotional - and all their complex levels.
Janet Gray's "B.B. Suite" was a fitting opener. The four segments were danced to the blues of B.B. King, which was interspersed with silent, shadow dancing that provided a prelude to the upcoming scenes.
Hearing the blues during a ballet is always exciting, although there were times when the dancing became a bit monotonous.
The reason could have been the fact that the tunes chosen were mostly mid-tempo laments.
Thus, the dancers were kind of confined to the steady 4/4 beats. And since those beats were so solid and set, if the dancer was off, it really showed.
Closing off the evening was Richard Wacko's "Carpathian Medley." The title and dances emitted the aura of the Carpathian Mountains that can be found on the borders of Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine.
Wacko's trademark folk-inspired dancing took center stage with celebrations, syncopation and percussion. The men use wooden posts to tap out rhythms with foot-stomping enthusiasm.
Utah Ballet brought out a variety of movements Thursday evening. And as the performances continue, there's no doubt the emotional level will grow as well.