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Jesse Coss
Ballet Wests Elizabeth McGrath and Rex Tilton in the staging of Anna-Marie Holmes Don Quixote, after Marius Petipa.

Ballet West is set to bring great things to the stage this season. At least that's what Artistic Director Adam Sklute sees in store as he announced the lineup for the 2011-12 Ballet West season.

A large part of this is the world premiere of "The Lottery," in a night that Sklute predicts will be "a very powerful night."

"It's a program that I think it puts us on par with other productions around the world."

Ballet West's fourth production of the season will also include the Utah premiere of George Balanchine's "Emeralds" and the highly acclaimed "Petit Mort."

Four years in the making, the world premiere of "The Lottery," based on the short story by Shirlee Jackson of the same name, is the first large-scale commission for Ballet West in many years.

Produced and choreographed by Val Caniparoli, "The Lottery" also features a newly commissioned score by Robert Muran that, according to Sklute, is melodically wonderful and works very well with the ballet.

For those familiar with the popular short story thanks to high-school English classes, the ending will also not be one to miss.

"Suffice to say it's going to be an interactive ending as far as the tension and drama that the audience will experience," he said.

Joining "The Lottery" is the Utah premiere of "Emeralds" set to the music of Gabriel Faure. This performance is part of the three-part "Jewels" series that is known as the first full-length abstract ballet.

Rounding off the production, "Petit Mort" choreographed by Jiri Kylian and set to the music of Mozart piano concertos will bring energy, silence and sexuality to the Ballet West stage with this highly acclaimed piece.

The season as a whole will show off the wonderful theatrical ability and technical and artistic ability, according to Sklute.

"With the programming, gave the audience very different styles because of how dramatic and diverse it will be," he said.

"Dracula" will open the season in October in the spirit of Halloween. With choreography by Ben Stevenson and music by Franz Liszt as arranged and orchestrated by John Lanchbery, this ballet interpretation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel is a Utah premiere. Set to by "wildly theatrical and opulent ballet," "Dracula" will feature flying vampires with exciting staging and special effects.

"(It is) both beautiful and funny, sometimes scary, but not too scary," Sklute said.

Ballet West's 56th annual production of "The Nutcracker" will run through December as the music of Tchaikovsky and the choreography of William Christensen spread Christmas spirit. The production is a Christmas favorite, and if you haven't seen Mother Buffoon yet, this might be something of interest.

Immediately following Christmas, "The NUTTY Nutcracker" hits the stage for its fourth year. This spoof on the Christmas favorite treats audiences to a whole new interpretation of "The Nutcracker" with different themes each year.

February will be filled with the joy and romance of "Don Quixote" as the production falls over Valentine's Day, Sklute said.

"It's filled with comedy and romance, and is a wonderful, bright, technical showpiece," he said.

Set to music by Ludwig Minkus, "Don Q," as Sklute called it, is based on the original 1869 version by Marius Petipa and is choreographed by renowned artist Anna-Marie Holmes, the first American dancer to train and dance in Soviet Russia. "Don Quixote" complements its successors, "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Nutcracker," as a ballet classic choreographed by Petipa.

"Innovations" will close the season in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center at the end of May. Through the years, Ballet West's annual "Innovations" performances have served as platforms for experimental choreography.

"I started it about four years ago as a platform for new and experimental creations," Sklute said. "I give an opportunity to my company dancers, up-and-coming choreographers from around the world, as well as established choreographers who want to do experimental work."

As a celebration of the fifth anniversary of "Innovations," the popular "Grand Synthesis," choreographed by Susan Shields, will return to be performed in this year's production.

Season ticket subscriptions are now on sale. To become a season subscriber, contact Ballet West’s Subscriber Services Department at 801-869-6900 or visit balletwest.org. Individual tickets for "Dracula" go on sale Sept. 26.

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