Ballet West National Choreographic Festival to be Held at the Eccles Theater

“I think it could do for dance what Sundance has done for film in Utah,”

said Ballet West CEO and Artistic Director, Adam Sklute, to a reporter recently, explaining his vision for the National Choreographic Festival. It’s an audacious vision, but then again, so was Robert Redford’s when he started Sundance 38 years ago.

In May, over two weekends, and with two completely different programs, the Ballet West National Choreographic Festival will celebrate new works that will challenge and advance the art form.

Along with the renowned guest companies, Ballet West will present its own World Premieres by dynamic Resident Choreographer Nicolo Fonte and the distinguished former Resident Choreographer, Val Caniparoli. Further adding to the anticipation of this unprecedented event, the Festival will be the first dance program ever mounted in the new George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater.

“The Ballet West National Choreographic Festival is a new initiative born out of our Innovations series,” says Sklute. “It is designed to give our Utah audiences the broadest scope of fresh new choreography that is out in the world today. I am excited and honored that our friends from around the country will be joining us to showcase their wonderful companies and choreography, and excited that our Company dancers will be exposed to such innovative work, and still get a chance to create. It’s also a thrill honor for Ballet West to bring the first dance series to the new Eccles Theater.”

Sklute has split the four companies and the Caniparoli and Fonte premieres over two weekends.


Pennsylvania Ballet. Bringing The Accidental, a contemporary ballet choreographed by Trey McIntyre in 2014 that allows the dancers to play off each other, using the weight of their partners as obstacles to overcome with grace.

Sarasota Ballet. Presenting gifted choreographer Ricardo Graziano’s ethereal and haunting In a State of Weightlessness, which premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in August, 2015.

Ballet West. Premiering Resident Choreographer Nicolo Fonte’s fourth World Premiere for Ballet West. The seventh of his works the Company has mounted since 2012, it will showcase Fonte’s unique brand of musicality, physicality, and fascination that Ballet West audiences have come to adore through pieces such as Bolero, Almost Tango, and The Rite of Spring.


Oregon Ballet Theatre. Presenting Terra, a new creation from esteemed choreographer Helen Pickett, set to an original score by American composer Jeff Beal of House of Cards fame. Pickett has a flair for drama, and this latest production takes inspiration from indigenous dances of the world, contemporary ballet, and Joseph Campbell’s work on myth and metaphor.

Pacific Northwest Ballet. Staging the exciting, internationally-recognized choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Before After, a pas de deux created in 2002 for the Dutch National Ballet about a relationship that is coming to an end.

Ballet West. Presenting Dances for Lou, a World Premiere by renowned choreographer, Val Caniparoli. With powerful, athletic, and hypnotic music, inspired by Lou Harrison’s “Concerto for Pipa and String Orchestra.”

Ballet West. Staging Oliver Oguma’s Tremor, a powerful work inspired by the human body set to a luscious score by Philip Glass.