Groundbreaking Original Works Headline Ballet West’s “Innovations” Program

SALT LAKE CITY -  Ballet West’s second annual Innovations program takes the stage, May 14-16 and 21-23 at the Rose Wagner Theatre, 138 West Broadway with a fresh and exciting showcase for new and cutting edge choreography including three original works created by Ballet West dancers, for Ballet West dancers.

This year, Ulysses Dove’s fierce and fiery Red Angels and a world premiere by award-winning choreographer Nicolo Fonte will be presented, along with brand new creations by Ballet West Soloist Jason Linsley and Artist Thomas Mattingly, and an expanded version of Soloist Peggy Dolkas’ hit 2008 creation “Yes, but how did you get there?

“Our 2009 Innovations program builds on what we began last year,” said Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute, “For this production we incorporate more elements of live-music such as an electric violin and a Salt Lake City local band, and we are honored to present a new work by Nicolo Fonte, a choreographer of such international renown.  This is exciting and inspiring for our artists and I know it will be for our audiences, as well.”

After the success of “Yes, but how did you get there?,” which was shown at Ballet West’s inaugural Innovations program last year, Sklute asked Dolkas to expand on her work to create a more complete ballet.  Dolkas, one of Dance Magazine’s 2007 “25 Women to Watch,” describes this piece’s choreography as her “progression of dance from step one. It starts with learning the basic steps, linking them together to create movement that compliments the music, and then pairing actions and reactions with another body, and finally breaking away into unfamiliar territory on the journey to becoming an artist.”

The choreography for Mattingly’s Above a Grey Expectation is dedicated to spotlighting the male dancer. “The men of Ballet West are strong, masculine, talented dancers that I wanted to show off to the public,” said Mattingly. “They are strong but not stiff. They are fluid but not weak. The expectations for the male dancer can be dull and grey. With this piece, I hope to create something that rises above that grey expectation.”

Linsley’s world premiere is set to music by local band “I Hear Sirens.” “I have just begun fully exploring my choreography with the company,” said Linsley. “As of now it is untitled. It’s based around two couples with very different relationship personalities, lovers and fighters. One of the couples goes through a massive tragedy and the other takes another look at their lives together. The process is very personal and driven from experience from myself and my dancers.”

“I am inspired by the creativity of our artists and fascinated by the uniqueness of their individual visions,” said Sklute. “All the choreographers we have presented both last year and this year have a distinctive voice and it has been a wonderful exploration for me to present and help develop their talents as choreographers.”

“Ulysses Dove was a major choreographic voice before his untimely death in 1996,” said Sklute. “He combined his own Alvin Ailey training with classical ballet to explosive effect.  I loved this work the moment I saw it and I am thrilled that violinist Mary Rowe – the only musician in the world to play this dynamic score – has agreed to join us for this program.”

Rounding out the program will be a world premiere by Nicolo Fonte.  Fonte, who began as a dancer with Les Grande Ballets Canadians, moved to Nacho Duato’s Compania Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain where he began choreographing. To date, he has created numerous works for major American and international ballet companies. Jack Anderson, writing in The New York Times, called Fonte “a choreographer worth knowing” and R.M. Campbell of the Seattle Post- Intelligencer wrote, “Fonte is a thinker, an architect who creates the new rather than reinvent the old. He is a master of manipulating space and creating relationships.”

“Nicolo’s work is poetic, organic and powerful,” said Sklute. “His world premiere, along with the other new and innovative works on this program, further Ballet West’s mission to develop and promote the future of ballet and present audiences in Utah and world-wide with the very best.” 

Ballet West’s Innovations is an exceptional way to experience brand-new creations by the next generation of choreographers. Tickets to Innovations are $50 and are on sale now through ArtTix by calling 355-ARTS or online at