Photo by Jesse Coss
Ballet West's Elizabeth McGrath and Rex Tilton in the Utah premiere of "Don Quixote."

Ballet West is delivering the whole package, including bullfights, romance, humor, gypsies and incredible dancing in its new performance to hit the stage this month, "Don Quixote."

Based on only a few chapters from the best-selling book by Miguel de Cervantes, "Don Quixote" is translated to dance in the telling story of Alonso Quijano who falls in love with a beautiful, young woman from Barcelona and her love for Basilio, village barber.

"It's a wonderful, bright, funny, high-spirited, energetic, classical ballet," said Adam Sklute, Ballet West's artistic director. "For adults who have a great deal of knowledge and young people who don't know anything about ballet."

Anna-Marie Holmes, the first American dancer to train and dance in Soviet Russia, has staged this production. She has based this version on the original 1869 version by Marius Petipa.

Sklute said that though "Don Quixote" is an older ballet, even older than "Swan Lake" or "Sleeping Beauty," the expertise of Holmes will have audiences amazed at the athleticism and skill of the dancers.

"It really shows how current and relevant these classics can be," Sklute said. "It doesn't look rusty or old. It is very current and fun for audiences today."

Holmes has been in Utah for three weeks and worked with Ballet West to ready the cast for the performance. She said there is so much talent in the company that she has assigned four different casts with different principle dancers so that all may be showcased.

"There will be so many fabulous dancers on the stage on any given night the audience wants to come," Sklute said.

Music for the performances is from the score by Ludwig Minkus, and Maestro Terence Kern will conduct the accompanying Utah Chamber Orchestra on Feb. 10, 11 and 18. Jerry Steichen, principle pops conductor for the Utah Symphony, will serve as a guest conductor for the rest of the performances.

In addition to the performances of "Don Quixote," Ballet West is offering audiences warm-ups, a free informational session one hour prior to each performance. During warm-ups, audience members can learn behind-the-scene information about the choreographer and background on "Don Quixote." Members of the Ballet West staff will be on hand to answer any questions from the audience.

The show is scheduled to run Feb. 10 and 11 and 14-18 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Capitol Theatre.

Tickets can by purchased at arttix.org or by calling (801) 355-ARTS, and range from $19 to $75. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more by calling Ballet West at (801) 869-6900.

Email: tackerman@desnews.com