The ballet is an artful demonstration of rhythm and grace, much like postal workers delivering the mail on roller skates. Witness true artistry with this GrouponLive deal to see the Ballet West performance of Innovations 2012 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. For $20, you get one ticket for best-available seating on Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m. (a $45 value).
Since striking up the Innovations series five years ago, Ballet West has capped each of its characteristically classical seasons with an all-out expo of new works from contemporary choreographers. Set to the dark fury of Shostakovich, Descent, by principal Michael Bearden, presents a true story of the Russian Revolution, expanded to a 45-minute performance from the 10-minute version that premiered in 2010. Chu-San Goh Award winner Susan Shields's evocative Grand Synthesis returns, gracefully skipping between tranquil and frantic tempos like an indecisive morning-radio DJ. Katherine Boyle of the Washington Post said of Shields that her style "fuses formal balletic technique with modern shapes and movement"; her work draws heavily upon training from the Joffrey Ballet School in New York and Wolf Trap Elementary School in Vienna.
What began as The University of Utah's first ballet department in 1963 grew into the Utah Civic Ballet (later renamed Ballet West) under the guiding hand of William F. Christensen, who created the first full-length American productions of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, which New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay remarked was “one of the best productions I’ve ever seen.” Today, artistic director Adam Sklute, a former dancer and associate artistic director with the Joffrey Ballet, maintains the troupe's globetrotting reputation while fostering fresh talent with a curriculum he designed for Ballet West Academy.