Utah Ballet Offers Original Works and Classic Favorites

October 27 2017

By Molly Powers

On Nov. 2-11, the School of Dance will present the Fall Utah Ballet Performance at the Marriott Center for Dance, showcasing a wide variety of styles, from classic favorites to works created in 2017. The performance will feature original choreography from School of Dance faculty member Melissa Bobick, School of Dance Director Luc Vanier, and guest artist Roderick George, along with a performance of August Bournonville’s classic “Konservatoriet,” staged by Jeff Rogers.

In her work “135,” Bobick explores a raw and visceral quality of movement inspired by the emotions present in life’s most chaotic and unexpected moments. Caught in this unfamiliar place, between the past and the future, the dance holds onto a turbulent present that can only be eased by the fleeting glimmer of hope.

Vanier will present his original piece, “Women if Possible.” He describes his process for the piece here:
 “’Women if Possible’ was first created in 1991 in honor of Judy Shoaff-Reading, who was my one of my long-time dance partners at Ohio Ballet,” says Vanier. “My original wish was to push the dancers to use their pointe shoes in novel ways. I later redid the work in 2006 as a duet and again in 2007 for six students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where the work became about empowerment as I encouraged dancers to transition from the mind of a student who is always looking to please and do things ‘right,’ to the approach of an artist who ‘owns’ the work.”

The program also features an original work by guest choreographer Roderick George, entitled “F.E.M. Queen.” George compares the movement of the dancers in this piece to the movement of a “pack of wolves.”  “F.E.M. Queen” focuses on the ideal of “the feminist” and how that ideal is interpreted by the performers. The title of the work draws inspiration from the game of chess and the capabilities of the chess pieces. “I wanted to think about empowering the women and how to instill these thoughts in the choreography” says George “In chess, the Queen is able to do all the moves that each piece on the chess board can do and is the most deadly.”

The concert will also include the classic masterwork, “Konservatoriet,” staged by Ballet West’s Jeff Rogers. “Konservatoriet” is a two-act vaudeville ballet created by the Danish choreographer and ballet master August Bournonville in 1849 for the Royal Danish Ballet. Set in a dance studio at the Conservatoire de Paris, the first act is a recreation of a Vestris dance class of the exact type attended by Bournonville during his Paris sojourn in the 1820s. In the second act, Monsieur Dufour, an inspecteur at the Conservatoire, writes a matrimonial advertisement in the newspaper but ends up marrying his housekeeper, Mademoiselle Bonjour. Typical of Bournonville’s ballets, the plot provides opportunities for introducing different dance divertissements. In the second act, for example, the pupils of the Conservatoire make a fool of Monsieur Dufour by disguising themselves as attractive women.

Tickets are available online, by phone at 801.581.7100 or at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. For more information please visit Dance.utah.edu.