Artistic Director, Ballet West
Adam Sklute brings passion, diversity and eclecticism to Ballet West as Artistic Director. Since 2007, Sklute has expanded Ballet West’s repertoire, visibility, and overall outlook with exciting company premieres; increased touring and public exposure; full-length classics never before performed by Ballet West; and new creations by renowned and up-and-coming choreographers, including new works by Ballet West Artists.
In just five years, Ballet West has presented audiences with 16 Utah premieres by such leading past and present choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Val Caniporoli, Ulysses Dove, Nicolo Fonte, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Bronislava Nijinska, Marius Petipa, Andre Prokovsky, Michael Smuin, Ben Stevenson, Twyla Tharp and Stanton Welch. Sklute has revived great works from Ballet West’s past by Ashton, Balanchine, John Butler, James Canfield, Caniporoli, Michel Fokine, Bruce Marks and Petipa. He has reintroduced lost elements of Willam Christensen’s beloved production of The Nutcracker, and has conceived and produced critically acclaimed new productions of Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Notably, Sklute developed Ballet West’s wildly successful Innovations program, designed to nurture and present new creations by Company Artists and emerging Utah, national, and international choreographers. To date Innovations has introduced an unprecedented 21 world premieres by choreographers such as Charlotte Boye-Christensen, Fonte, Jodie Gates, Helen Pickett, Avichai Scher, and Susan Shields, as well as 10 different Ballet West Artists.
Under Sklute’s leadership Ballet West has toured extensively, appearing twice at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2008 Ballet Across America – Serenade, and nine performances of The Nutcracker in 2012); twice at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival (Les Biches, 2009; Grand Pas Paquita, 2012); and twice at the Chicago Dancing Festival (Serenade 2010; Sinfonietta 2011). In the past five years, the company has also appeared at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in 2011, The Laguna Dance Festival in 2010, and in Las Vegas with Nevada Ballet Theater in both 2010 (Sinfonietta) and 2012 (Jewels in collaboration with NBT and PNB). In 2009, Ballet West graced the cover of Dance Magazine for the first time in 25 years. Since 2007, the company has garnered numerous reviews and articles in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dance Magazine, Ballet Review, and Pointe to name a few. In 2012 Ballet West was the subject of the BBC Worldwide Production’s docu-drama television series Breaking Pointe which aired on The CW channel.
Sklute conceived Ballet West’s Viewpointe panel discussion series, its Shoe-in project (a collaboration with Utah local artists) and its Fusion and Couture in Motion fashion show fundraisers. He has lectured at the Chicago Art Institute, and has served on the boards of Chicago’s Dance for Life, Salt lake Community College, School of the Arts Advisory Board; and the Salt Lake County Cultural Facilities Master Plan Advisory Board. He currently serves on the Board of the Gerald Arpino/Robert Joffrey Foundation. A finalist judge and international representative for the Youth America Grand Prix, The World Ballet Competition and an adjudicator for the American College Dance Festival Association, Sklute was listed as one of the 25 Movers and Shakers of the Utah Arts Scene in 2007.
Passionate about dance education and the development of young dancers, Sklute actively oversees Ballet West’s Academy, teaching regularly and developing and focusing its syllabus with the Academy faculty. Sklute is also a guest teacher and coach for dance programs and workshops worldwide, including Brigham Young University, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Ballet Academy of Texas, The Berlin State Ballet School, The Joffrey Ballet Schools in New York and Los Angeles, The Southwest Regional Ballet Festival, The University of Cincinnati, and the Utah Regional Ballet. He also acts as adjunct professor for the University of Utah’s Ballet Department.
A native of Berkeley, California, Sklute began dancing at the age of 16. His early training was at the Oakland Ballet and San Francisco Ballet schools. After only two years of formal study he joined The Joffrey II Dancers (The Joffrey’s apprentice company). Two years later he was asked to join The Joffrey Ballet. Sklute was one of the last two artists personally chosen by Robert Joffrey.
Throughout his dancing career Sklute performed leading roles by such choreographers as Gerald Arpino, Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Agnes DeMille, Robert Joffrey, Kurt Jooss, Jiri Kylian, James Kudelka, Leonide Massine, Jerome Robbins and Paul Taylor. He has performed with New York’s Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Dallas Metropolitan Ballet and California’s Diablo Ballet. Sklute’s television credits include The Joffrey Ballet’s "Dance in America" filmings of Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps and Gerald Arpino’s production of Billboards, the role of The Old Soldier in WTTW’s filming of Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table and Herr Drosselmeyer in the WTTW one-hour special of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker. In 2003 he assisted with and appeared in Robert Altman’s feature film The Company; and in 2012 he appeared in The Joffrey Ballet: Mavericks of Dance, a documentary chronicling the history of The Joffrey Ballet, and First Position a documentary about YAPG; He both appeared in and was Creative Consultant for the CW channel’s "Breaking Pointe."