David Heuvel, Ballet West Director of Costume Production received Governor Gary Herbert‘s prestigious Artist Award for Visual Arts this month. 

David’s illustrious career in costume design and production has taken him to every corner of the globe. Five decades ago, David started as an apprentice at the Opera Theatre in Pretoria, South Africa. He quickly moved up the ranks in the state-run arts organization to become the director of the costume shop for PACT Ballet.

In 1979, then-artistic director of Ballet West, Bruce Marks invited David to head the fledgling company’s costume shop. Under Marks, David helped build the reputation of Ballet West from a regional ballet company, to one with international stature. The company was receiving worldwide acclaim, with international tours, daring new works, and notable artistry on stage, from the dancers, and yes, the costumes.

The Ballet West costume shop, under David’s direction, is unparalleled. Today, few companies have the luxury of the vast talent and experience that David offers. From cohesive designs with historical accuracy, to the tactile ability to dye garments, David’s costume shop is the definition of full-service. “My philosophy is that the costume must move with the dancer,” says David. “If they touch the stage feeling comfortable and regal, I have done my job.”

Apart from David’s work with Ballet West, he has designed and built costumes for ballet companies both nationally and international, including Ballet Du Nord (France), Alberta Ballet, Ballet Met, Singapore Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Ballet Hawaii, Nashville Ballet, and Ballet Memphis. His dazzling work has appeared in television, movies, and most recently, in the Taylor Swift music video, Shake It Off.

In 2017, David became a United States citizen. “Before, Utah was my ‘adopted home.’ Now, I just call it home. This state has embraced me, and I am blessed to live in a place that truly values its arts—and artists.”