BALLET WEST TRIPLE BILL TO COMMEMORATE
CENTENNIAL OF DIAGHILEV'S BALLETS RUSSES
SALT LAKE CITY - Ballet West will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the
famed Ballets Russes with Treasures of the Ballets Russes, March 27, 28
and April 1-4 at the Capitol Theatre. Performances will also take place
on April 7 and 8 at the Val A. Browning Center on the Weber State
University Campus in Ogden, Utah.
Established in 1909, Ballets Russes created a sensation in Western
Europe, encompassing an amazing collection of some of history's greatest
choreographers, composers, artists, and dancers. This landmark artistic
collaboration set in motion an influence that, in one form or another,
has lasted to this day.
"The Ballets Russes redefined the art of ballet," said Ballet West
Artistic Director Adam Sklute. "Through Serge Diaghilev's vision of
dance, some of the greatest composers, artists, choreographers and
librettists of all time were assembled, creating a new form of ballet
that was complete theater. From that point on, ballets were no longer
looked upon purely as vehicles for dance but as works of art."
For Treasures of The Ballets Russes, Ballet West will showcase the
glamour, drama and dynamism of the Diaghilev vision with a program that
features three unique works by a sampling of larger-than-life
choreographers, designers and composers. In the September 7th edition of
The New York Times, Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay called Ballet West's
"Treasures of the Ballets Russes" 'an adventurous triple bill.'
This must-see program opens with the Ballet West premiere of Les Biches,
Bronislava Nijinska's chic and funny (and slightly scandalous) look at
the 1920's flapper scene. Set to a commissioned score by Francis
Poulenc, with costumes and sets by Marie Laurencin, it is an early
collaboration between women artists and considered by many to be the
first feminist ballet.
"Les Biches is a miracle of early 20th Century choreography," said
Sklute. "It poses huge technical demands on the artists, but the real
challenge is to present it with absolute nonchalance and a sense of
humor and chic."
Next is the Ballet West premiere of George Balanchine's Prodigal Son, a
startling early work by one of the world's greatest choreographers. In
1929, this exciting and moving tale danced to the music of Sergei
Prokofiev, and with sets and costumes by the expressionist artist
Georges Roualt, opened what was to be the last Paris season of
Diaghilev's Les Ballets Russes. The piece is a narrative ballet telling
the Biblical parable of the prodigal son who snubs his father, is
exploited and abandoned by his insincere friends, and then, left
destitute, must return to his father in shame only to be embraced and
"It is remarkable to think that Balanchine was only 24 when he created
Prodigal Son." Sklute noted. "And already the choreographic invention
just pours from him. The last scene is perhaps one of the most moving
in all of ballet."
Finally, the revival of the ballet that "set Paris on fire" in 1909 -
the fabulous Polovetsian Dances from Alexandre Borodin's opera "Prince
Igor" will end this spectacular program. Michel Fokine, one of Ballets
Russes' most innovative choreographers, incorporated the vigorous and
athletic style of the Russian folk dance tradition into this work. With
an emphasis on powerful male dancing and dramatic expression,
Polovetsian Dances features highly recognizable music, including the
tune that was later used in the musical "Kismet" for the song "Stranger
"It's no wonder that Polovetsian Dances excited the cool Parisian
audiences as it did in 1909," said Sklute. "The build of the score is
tremendous and there is almost animalistic abandon that builds to the
finale of this dance."
Treasures of the Ballets Russes will be accompanied by the Utah Chamber
Orchestra, conducted by Terence Kern. Evening performances begin at
7:30 p.m. March 27, 28 and April 1-4, with a matinee performance at 2:00
p.m. on April 4.
In conjunction with the performances of Treasures of the Ballets Russes,
Ballet West offers Warm Ups. These fun and informative discussions are
free of charge to ticket holders and will begin promptly one hour prior
to each presentation of The Tempest. Get the inside scoop on the
evening's program including background on the ballet, information on the
choreographer and other interesting behind-the-scenes facts. At Warm
Ups, members of the Ballet West artistic staff are available to answer
any questions that the audience may have.
Tickets range from $18 - $72 and are available through ArtTix by calling
355-ARTS (2787 or 1-888-451-2787, at www.arttix.org
<http://www.arttix.org/> , or at the Capitol Theatre ticket office.