Ballet West opened its 2010-2011 season with George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and Carmina Burana. The two ballets were an interesting pairing that worked very well. The Four Temperaments presented dancers portraying the four humors (basic substances in the body that were once said to make up our state of health), and Carmina Burana is meant to portray life’s Wheel of Fortune with celebration, love, desire, despair and fate. Each ballet touches upon the core of humanity, reaching directly into our soul.
The first dance of the Ballet West Academy Spring Performance was called Retro Shifts. As I sat and watched this intriguing, thoughtful and quietly expressive dance, the word that kept popping into my head was ‘brilliant’. The Ballet West Academy, its administration and staff have to be commended on their hard work. The relationships they have formed with each other and their dancers shows in the quality of their dancers, performances and productions.
As the curtain raised for Ballet West’s Serenade, the first sound I heard was my own; I caught my breath. And I wasn’t the only one; In unison, the audience inhaled a silent ‘ahh’, which was immediately followed by applause. The combination of Maestro Terence Kern and the Utah Chamber Orchestra’s Serenade for Strings (Tchaikovsky) and the ethereal Ballet West dancers bathed in blue was simply breathtaking. Such serenity, such beauty. It was my favorite ballet moment ever.
As Ballet West’s Artistic Director, Adam Sklute takes an idea, molds it and presents his labor of love to the ballet patrons of Salt Lake City. As the curtain rises at the Capitol Theatre, the question he likely asks is, “will you see it as I see it?” I answer, how can I not? Adam Sklute clearly has a vision for Ballet West, and I believe it is to bring out the best in the dancers and to bring the best productions to Salt Lake City and beyond.
December is a wonderful time to go to the ballet. At no other time during the year will you see more children embracing the love of the ballet as they are exposed to the artistry of dance, music and the imagination of the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is where dreams begin, and for the parents and grandparents sitting alongside their little dreamers, it is a dream shared through generations.
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