Arts News

Ballet West’s 55th season brims with energy, magic, and drama

Ballet West promises a dramatic and breathtaking season for its 55th anniversary, restaging Utah favorites and introducing new grand-scale works.

The season opens with George Balanchine’s Jewels, Nov. 2–10. From the elegant, French court mystery of Emeralds, and delicate music of Fauré, to the highflying, flapper-style Rubies, set to the jazzy strains of Stravinsky, and finally the grandeur of Imperial Russia with Diamonds, and the majesty of Tchaikovsky — Jewels is an iconic modern masterpiece. “While Jewels has no formal plot, it is full of multilayered stories. Each of the three sections evokes a mood, a place, and an era,” said Artistic Director Adam Sklute.

Next, Willam Christensen’s TheNutcracker returns Dec. 14–29. Last year, Ballet West unveiled new sets and costumes to phenomenal success in both critical reviews and record-breaking ticket sales. Created in 1944 for the San Francisco Ballet, Christensen’s The Nutcracker has run unbroken in Utah for 63 years. It’s considered America’s first Nutcracker and is the longest running in the United States, and remains a favorite holiday tradition. This season, Ballet West takes the production back to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., featuring the new sets and costumes.

In February, Ballet West returns with Sklute’s critically acclaimed production of Swan Lake, Feb. 8–23. Glorious, heart-melting music by Tchaikovsky and a timeless story make this one of the most beloved ballets in the world. Ballet West’s Swan Lake broke attendance records when the company produced it in 2014. And the Deseret News exclaimed, “the execution of artistry is some of the best in the ballet world.”

A major Utah premiere will highlight the spring production, with the staging of John Cranko’s internationally renowned telling of the great Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin’s Onegin, April 5–13. “For many years I have dreamed of bringing Onegin to Utah,” said Sklute. “I consider this one of the great ballets of the 20th century. Cranko’s genius of storytelling, and his brilliant pas de deux work shine in his deft handling of Pushkin’s heartbreaking verse-novel Eugene Onegin. This piece of dance-theater will have you on the edge of your seat.”

Onegin first premiered at the Stuttgart Ballet in 1965. The choreography includes a wide range of styles, including folk, modern, and ballroom. Due to construction at the Capitol Theatre, Onegin stages at the Eccles Theater downtown.

The annual Choreographic Festival, May 9–11 closes the season, with exciting creations by Ballet West artists and a world premiere from noted choreographer and Artistic Director of Ballet Met, Edwaard Liang. Liang’s work is sought-after worldwide and this will be his first for Ballet West.

“When I arrived in Salt Lake City 10 years ago I was honored to become part of a company already known for a broad repertoire,” said Sklute. “My vision was to weave the great and storied history of Ballet West with a new, dynamic, and 21st-century outlook.” Sklute’s dream of molding Ballet West into one of the world’s most versatile ballet companies is on full display in the range of productions he will bring to the stage in the upcoming season.

In addition to the regular season, Ballet West II dancers and students from the Ballet West Academy will bring back to the stage Beauty and the Beast — full of comedy, romance, and adventure. As part of the Family Series, Beauty and the Beast guides the narration and a truncates the presentation, perfect for young balletomanes.

Single tickets start at $24; season subscriptions are still available. Contact Ballet West at 801-869-6900 or visit

Photo | Beau Pearson

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