UTAH BALLET, Alice Sheets Marriott Center for Dance, University of Utah, Thursday, additional performances through Nov. 17, 581-7100.
The young dancers of the University of Utah's Utah Ballet company are trained in the classics but also know how to perform works that lean toward the contemporary.
That is evident in the current run of the Utah Ballet's performances this week.
The centerpiece of this season's evening of works is the company's artistic director Attila Ficzere's "Tribute to Michael Smuin."
Ficzere, who was a friend of the late former artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet, Smuin, restaged excerpts from Smuin's grand work "The Tempest."
After a video tribute to Smuin, who received his dance education at the U. back in the 1950s and 1960s, the Utah Ballet dancers take to the stage and do the man proud.
On Thursday, each variation was done with graceful and sometimes playful fluidity and the two male dancers Christopher Peddecord and Joshua Stovall were strong, although there was a little part where the two were out of sync.
Still, the work ended with a uplifting Rainbow pas de trios, featuring Courtney Stohlton, Peddecord and Stovall, that drew cheers from the audience.
Ficzere's own "Excerpts from Songs of Mahler" places the dancers in a more stoic light.
The four-segment work allows the dancers to work out the classically inspired work that smacks of contemporary movement.
A solo by Holly Shaw, to a pas de deux with Emily McLaughlin and Stovall, and four-men with one woman piece presented by Jennifer Castaneda, Dane Arbogast, Andrew Iotcovici, Peddecord and Stovall as a whole provided different challenges for the dancers. And they met them with technically trained determination.
Closing the evening is Ficzere's rework of Marius Petipa's "Paquita."
The classically grand piece made the dancers step up a notch in presentation Thursday night.
The dancers' lines were, for the most part, long in the extensions. And the strength of Stovall during his partnership with Castaneda was easy to watch, especially on the lifts.
Each variation movement was executed with style, and the dancers drew the audience into the dancing.
The evening opens with a humorous work called "Pas de Combien?" and takes off from there.
Not only did the dancers show off their training, but the costumes and lighting added to each selection, making this production an enjoyable way to spend an evening.
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