Michelle Armstrong
Caleb Mathis as the title character in the Ballet Centre's "Zorro."

A few years ago, the Ballet Centre presented an original version of "Zorro." It was so successful that Susan Wright, the Centre's owner and founder, decided it needed to be done again.

Wright told her daughter, Michelle Armstrong — the Centre's artistic director — she should bring back "Zorro" for an encore performance.

"She usually doesn't like to do repeats," said Wright in an interview with the Deseret News. "She is a very creative person who liked to do new things all the time. But she decided to do 'Zorro' again."

The three-act ballet is filled with drama, humor, swashbuckling and beautiful pas de deux, said Wright. "There are about 30 cast members altogether. And the production is delightful."

Wright, who trained under Ballet West founder Willam F. Christensen and Jean Renee, said the Ballet Centre's "Ballet Under the Stars" performance has always been a fairy tale of sorts. "And she saw the 'Legend of Zorro' book and decided to make it into a ballet."

"I thought it was a brilliant idea," said Wright. "I knew our boys would be loving it. And it's got something for everyone — a little excitement with sword fighting, kidnapping and tender moments."

While Caleb Mathis will be returning as the title role, it was a challenge finding the female lead.

"We had a great sultry-and-feisty dancer a few years ago, but she has moved on," said Wright. "And I told Michelle that she was going to have a heck of time finding someone just as good.

"But she did. In fact, I think the new dancer is better."

That new dancer is Stefany Seitz.

"She's 17 and really gets into the character and she can dance circles around so many professional dancers today," Wright said.

Another challenge was finding music.

"There is not any original music for a 'Zorro' ballet," said Wright, who has run the Ballet Centre in Murray for 25 years. (She also runs Wright Costume and Dancewear, the Murray Arts Centre and the Murray Chapel and Garden.) "So we culled music from operas like 'Carmen' and other classical works. And I think the music is perfect."


If you go . . .

What: Zorro, Ballet Centre

Where: Murray Park Amphitheater, 495 E. 5300 South

When: Friday and Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

How much: $7

Phone: 264-2614


E-mail: scott@desnews.com