April 8
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Utah Ballet Focuses On What’s Best  

by Marissa Mullen
Mark Harootian’s “Vishnu” represents the ele-ments of the Hindu holy trinity through ballet.
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s the end of the school year draws near, members of Utah Ballet are hard at work preparing for their final performance of the season. In the last days before opening night, the giddy, energetic University of Utah students practice fervently to ensure a great show that everyone will enjoy.

The show, which debuts today, is titled, “Focal Pointe” and features four diverse works in classical and contemporary ballet styles. Co-artistic directors Conrad Ludlow and Richard Wacko have created a well-rounded program that will display the talents of both the dancers and choreographers within the department. The performance will include two works by Ludlow, one by professor emeritus Bene Arnold and one by senior ballet student Mark Harootian.

Ludlow choreographed “Faust,” a classically based piece for eight dancers and a solo couple. It is the story of the legendary character Faust, who attempts to end his life when Mephistopheles (the devil) intervenes and promises to make Faust young again. His promise, however, is only a mere vision conjured up by Mephistopheles in order to obtain Faust’s immortal soul.

“Ice,” also choreographed by Ludlow, is a contemporary piece premiering on the program. It explores the depth of abstract shapes and movements, performed in a neoclassical style. Set to music by Philip Glass, the constant movement seems to represent the different elements of ice as it gradually changes into water.

“Cycle” is a rich, diverse piece with a long history. Arnold, a prominent ballet department retired faculty member, first premiered this work at Kingsbury Hall in 1968 as her thesis presentation. Filled with emotion and detail, the piece unfolds a story that is up to the spectator to interpret. “The programmatic context of ‘Cycle’ is developed through your own eyes and emotions. There is no correct interpretation, only your own,” Arnold said in a press release.

Senior Mark Harootian choreographed the final piece, “Vishnu.” This East Indian piece represents the holy Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. A fun, energetic piece made for almost the entire company, “Vishnu” originally premiered in a recent Ballet Showcase production. Harootian has made changes to the work, which include a larger cast and longer duration. He is also the first undergraduate student to choreograph a piece for Utah Ballet.

Even though these young dancers hold extremely busy schedules, with endless rehearsals and classes to perfect their technique, they look fresh and happy to be performing at rehearsal. The hard work they have put into this performance shows, and it seems as if nothing can stop them now. The U’s resident ballet company is one of highly professional quality and is renowned across America on the collegiate level. Come see what the company is all about as its members zoom in and focus on their amazing skills.

“Focal Pointe” will be performed at Kingsbury Hall, April 8-10, at 7:30 p.m. with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. The program runs 90 minutes. Tickets range from $5 to $12 and are available by calling (801) 581-7100.

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