Ballet West was given the opportunity to dance for the Utah Arts Fest this year, which was the first opportunity in ten years! We danced every night of the Arts Fest (June 23-26). For everyone that was able to come and support us, thank you.
For everyone that couldn’t make the trip out, know that the rep we put on the stage was amazing. The program opened with Thomas Mattingly’s Fall Into Loving Arms, a piece choreographed for Innovations 2011. The three couples from Mattingly’s piece then hurried backstage to our tents to change frantically (not really) while the grande pas de deux from Chaconne was danced. Then we presented the grande pas de deux from Don Quixote, the white swan pas de deux from Swan Lake and concluded with the grande pas de deux from Flames of Paris.
We danced on the festival stage, which was located just north east of city hall. The stage was much smaller than our Capitol Theater stage, the temperature was much hotter than the Capitol Theater stage and the floor conditions were a bit different than what we are used to. Even with all that said, I loved it! Luckily for me, the choreography I performed wasn’t very hard to adapt to the limited space. I don’t know how the others pulled off their variations on that stage, but they did … and they did them really well. The heat was an interesting factor. The glare in my eyes, moving in and out of the sun was definitely tricky at times. For the most part, I liked that we were able to dance in such warmth. Warming up was fairly easy so my muscles felt really loose, which can sometimes be a battle to achieve for a dancer. The warmth also greatly impacts the texture of the linoleum we dance on. The heat tends to make the floor extremely “grippy.” Again, I loved it. Every dancer likes different conditions, some like the floor grippy, some like it neutral, some like dancing when the temperature is seventy, some like seventy one, etc. The whole company is never completely happy, that’s just the way it goes. However, coping with situations and making things work is a big part of our job.
The packed audiences each night seemed to love what we were doing on stage. There weren’t enough chairs so many people were left standing, surrounding the seated audience members. I found myself walking through the arts fest crowd after a performance really feeling like part of the arts community. I don’t want to speak for the other dancers, but I’m pretty sure we all had a great time. Thanks to Bruce Caldwell for taking pictures.