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Finding the spins in Ballet West's new season

Published February 29, 2012 11:01 am

Upcoming season • Old favorites include "Nutcracker," another "Innovations."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Set your iPhone to reminder for Nov. 2, when Ballet West opens its 2012-2013 season — subscriber tickets are now available online. In October before the season officially begins, Ballet West's annual Gala is a one-night, hour-long opportunity to see sneak previews of the season, featuring brilliant solos and pas de deuxs as well as excerpts from upcoming work.

Choosing the highlight of the company's 2012-2013 season is tricky. Topping the list would be the world premiere of Val Caniparoli's dance interpretation of Shirley Jackson's classic short story, "The Lottery." A commissioned musical score by Robert Moran and secretive rehearsals are keeping dance followers guessing.

"The Lottery," which was originally scheduled for the 2011-2012 season and temporarily put on hold due to financial cutbacks, follows the dark narrative familiar to many readers from high school literature classes. Although Artistic Director Adam Sklute is playing it close to the vest, the ballet will include — spoiler alert — an element of surprise involving chance and performer-audience interactions.

As predictable as snow (used to be) in December, Ballet West will offer Utah's favorite, Willam Christensen's "The Nutcracker." Even though "The Nutcracker" is as comfortable as an old shoe, comparing new and different dancers in unexpected roles provides a reason to go back each season at least once, and maybe even twice.

In February, Frederick Ashton's opulent version of "Cinderella" is sure to fill seats and awe audiences. These full-length story ballets challenge dancers, balance the programming, and define classical companies. "Awesome" is how Sklute described the three-act ballet, adding "nobody can end an act like Ashton."

In April, the company will present George Balanchine's masterpiece, "Jewels," recognized as the first abstract full-length ballet. Presented in three acts, each act features the music of a different composer: "Emeralds" is set to the music of Gabriel Fauré, "Rubies" to the music of Igor Stravinsky, and "Diamonds" to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Each act represents a different era of ballet — romantic, modern and grand imperial — making it a challenge for dancers to get all three just right. "This work will show off the whole company," Sklute said. "We have so many spectacular dancers and our audiences deserve to see them."

As always, the season concludes with "Innovations," spotlighting new works choreographed by Ballet West, including the revival of dancer Christopher Ruud's "Trapped" from 2011, and a world premiere by emerging choreographer Jodie Gates. "I wanted it to have a longer stage life," Sklute said of "Trapped," and for Chris to have an opportunity to work with it."

Sklute promises there will be more news to come on changes in artistic staff, Ballet West II's developing repertoire and company touring plans.

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Ballet West's 2012-13 season

Oct. 27 • Gala, the annual fundraiser for the company's education and outreach programs.

Nov. 2-3, 7-10 • "The Lottery" features a triple bill of contemporary ballets, including the world premiere of Val Caniparoli's "The Lottery"; the return of Nicole Fonte's "Bolero," set to the famous score by Ravel; and Helen Pickett's "But Never Doubt I Love," set to music by Mendelssohn and Liszt, and commissioned for the company's 2010 "Innovations" program.

Nov. 30-Dec. 29 • The 56th edition of Willam Christensen's "The Nutcracker," to the famous Tchaikovsky score.

Feb. 14-17, 20-23 • Utah premiere of Frederick Ashton's "Cinderella," with a score by Prokofiev.

April 12-14, 18-21 • Utah premiere of George Balanchine's entire trio of "Jewels": music for "Emeralds" by Fauré, a reprisal of the work which Ballet West will perform this April; for "Rubies," Stravinsky; and "Diamonds" by Tchaikovsky.

May 17-18-22-25 • "Innovations," featuring a new work by emerging choreographer Jodie Gates, a former dancer with The Joffrey, Pennsylvania and Frankfurt ballet companies, as well as works by Ballet West dancers, including a revival of Christopher Ruud's "Trapped" from 2011.

Tickets • Season tickets from $48-$341 are on sale at balletwest.org or 801-869-6900; single ticket sales to the Gala, the first performance of the season, will go on sale Sept. 34; tickets for "The Lottery" program go on sale Oct. 1.

Tickets • Season tickets from $48-$341 are on sale at balletwest.org or 801-869-6900