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
“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