On Tour

Ballet West has toured over 20 states and appeared in three separate series on America’s most prestigious stage – The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Company has also performed at City Center’s “Fall for Dance” event in New York City, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the Laguna Dance Festival, the Joffrey Alumni Festival, and twice at the Chicago Dancing Festival. Ballet West was the only American ballet company at the Sixth National China Arts Festival in October 2000 and holds the distinction of being the sole ballet company to perform to a world audience at the 2002 Winter Olympics Arts Festival. In 2004, Ballet West appeared at Scotland’s Edinburgh International Festival, one of the most important celebrations of the arts in the world.

As part of its touring packages, Ballet West also offers community outreach, including master classes, lecture series, student performances and educational demonstrations.


From Balanchine to Bournonville and Petipa to Tharp, Ballet West boasts a rich and varied repertoire, elegant and versatile artists and an American style and legacy that is as dynamic, expansive and unexpected as the Rocky Mountain region it represents.  Ballet West has toured the world several times over presenting the very best in American classical ballet.

Ballet West was established in Salt Lake City in 1963.  Willam F. Christensen was the company’s first artistic director, co-founding the company together with Utah’s “First Lady of the Arts” Glenn Walker Wallace. In 1951, Christensen had established the first ballet department in an American university at The University of Utah and with the tireless assistance of Mrs. Enid Cosgriff this program grew into the Utah Civic Ballet, Ballet West’s first incarnation.  But this was not the first ballet company Willam Christensen’s founded. Along with his brothers Lew and Harold, Christensen made history by establishing the oldest ballet company in the western United States, the San Francisco Ballet.  There he went on to create the first full-length American productions of CoppéliaSwan Lakeand his evergreen production of The Nutcracker, which remains in Ballet West’s repertoire to this day.

With 37 company members, 11 second company members, and a thriving academy that trains dancers of all ages, many of whom have gone on to professional careers with Ballet West and companies around the world, Ballet West ranks among the top professional ballet companies in America. Since its inception, the Company has had five artistic directors – its founder Willam Christensen, Bruce Marks, John Hart, Jonas Kåge and currently Adam Sklute, each who have helped to build Ballet West’s unique and expansive profile.

A 20th Century ballet pioneer, Christensen developed a distinctly American and theatrical repertoire for his company based on his early training in Utah and New York City as well as his years traversing the American Vaudeville circuit. He also built a strong connection to the works of George Balanchine. In 1975 Christensen invited the great American dancer Bruce Marks to join him as Ballet West’s Co-Artistic Director. Marks became Artistic Director in 1978 when Christensen retired.  Under Marks’ direction, the company presented its first full production of Swan Lake and it earned a reputation for developing emerging choreographers of the time. Also during this period Marks made history, along with his wife, the acclaimed Danish Ballerina, Toni Lander, by presenting the first American full-length production of Abdallah by renowned 19th Century Danish choreographer, August Bournonville. John Hart, C.B.E., former dancer, administrator, and Assistant Director of The Royal Ballet in England succeeded Marks as Artistic Director of Ballet West In 1985.  Under his leadership, the company’s repertoire was expanded to include more well-loved 19th Century classics such as The Sleeping Beauty. Hart further enriched the company’s treasure trove of ballets with the works of many early 20th Century masters, most notably the great English choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton. From 1985 to 1996, Hart engaged San Francisco-based Val Caniparoli as Ballet West’s resident choreographer.  Internationally known dancer and choreographer Jonas Kåge served as Artistic Director from 1997 to 2006.  During this time Kåge maintained Ballet West’s repertoire of classics while revitalizing its profile with notable late 20th Century choreographers such as Christopher Bruce, Hans van Manen, Glen Tetley and William Forsythe.

Since 2007, Artistic Director Adam Sklute, former dancer, Ballet Master and Associate Director of The Joffrey Ballet has further energized and expanded Ballet West’s remarkable repertoire with works by the most renowned choreographers of today such as Ulysses Dove, Jiří Kylián, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, and Stanton Welch. Sklute has also introduced the elegant historical masterpieces from the great Ballets Russes of the early 20th Century and continues to preserve Ballet West’s classical legacy.  Sklute has further strengthened Ballet West’s heritage by introducing new creations by local, national and international choreographers.

For 50 years, Willam Christensen and Ballet West have developed and influenced innumerable great artists in the ballet world. Some notable figures include Bart Cook, Finis Jhung, Jay Jolley, Victoria Morgan, Tomm Ruud, Michael Smuin, Richard Tanner, and Kent Stowell.

With this eclectic and ever expanding outlook, Ballet West is truly an American pioneer in the world of dance.

Media Coverage

Recent Coverage

July 16, 2013 Article “Creativity Behind the Scenes: Institutional Marketing and Reality Television” in the  Huffington Post.

June/July 2013 issue of Pointe Magazine

July 2013 issue of Dance Magazine

On the CW Network



Leigh Witchel of Dance View Times commented that Ballet West’s female corps “looks like a row of long-stemmed champagne flutes,” and stated that its performance at the Smith Center in Las Vegas “showed the company to its best advantage as a well-rehearsed corps fronted by good principal dancers.” You can see the full article here.

Alastair Macaulay, of The New York Times stated that Ballet West, First Soloist, Rex Tilton “may well be one of the most versatile young male dancers in America.”

Wendy Perron included The Lottery on her list of best new choreography in Dance Magazine’s “Best of 2012.” You can see the list here.


The Nutcracker

Alastair Macaulay, of The New York Times stated that Ballet West’s The Nutcracker was “One of the best productions I’ve ever seen.”

In her review of Ballet West’s The Nutcracker Performance at the Kennedy Center, Sarah Kaufman of the Washington Post stated “O come, all ye faithless: Behold a ‘Nutcracker’ to banish ghosts of sugar-plum hangovers past. Ballet West’s production… fairly bursts with comfort and joy.” The entire article can be viewed here.

In The Wall Street Journal Robert Greskovic said, “With effective sets by Ariel Ballif and costumes by David Heuvel, the Ballet West ‘Nutcracker’ dances a delicate line between the music’s 19th-century world and the contemporary one of today’s audiences.”


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Ballet West II

Ballet West II has established a reputation of its own as an elite touring ensemble, with the versatility to perform a broad spectrum of dance in venues of all sizes across the country. Under the direction of Ballet West First Soloist Christopher Sellars, these future stars of Ballet West present both classical and modern ballet with youth, freshness, and spontaneity.


Ballet West II’s repertoire features works for every taste, from such classics as Bournonville’s La Ventana Pas de Trois, Act I Swan Lake  Pas de Trois, and Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, to innovative choreography like Mobile by Tomm Ruud and new works created for the company by such choreographers as Jodie Gates, Christopher Ruud and Tom Mattingly.

Community Outreach

As part of its touring packages, both Ballet West and Ballet West II also offer community outreach including:

Master classes: Taught to the level requested by a member of the artistic staff or one of Ballet West’s Artists.

Lecture series: With advanced notice, a pre-show lecture can be presented by a member of the artistic staff.

Student performances: Local schools can be invited to an afternoon dress rehearsal if the load-in schedule permits. Ballet West II also offers a program that can be presented at local elementary schools.

Educational demonstrations: Groups can be invited to attend rehearsals, which will include an educational component.

Local charity initiative: Ballet West will work with local charities to create an experience or event. For example, Ballet West recently worked with a local Make-a-Wish Foundation office to bring a family back stage for a special tour.


With advanced notice, and time permitting, a pre- or post- meet and greet with autograph signing can be arranged with the artists.


Upcoming Events

December 10-14, 2014

Washington DC

Program Information

 April 24-25, 2015

Victoria, BC

Program Information

 May 27, 2015

Longview, TX

Program Information

 May 29-30, 2015

Dallas, TX

Program Information

Recent Tours

October 4-5, 2013- Ballet West- Auditorium Theater- Chicago, IL
http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/pages/home/performances-events/performances.php?event_id=450Program Information: The Sleeping Beauty (Sklute after Petipas/Tchaikovsky)
October 6, 2013- Ballet West- Auditorium Theater-Chicago, IL
http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/pages/home/performances-events/performances.php?event_id=475Program Information:
The Lottery**based on Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (Caniparoli/Moran)
Rubies (Balanchine/ Stravinsky)
Diamonds Pas (Balanchine/Tschaikovsky
**Presented by special arrangement with the Children of Shirley Jackson, and Literal Media
October 2-3, 2012 – Ballet West – Fall for Dance Festival, New York City Center- New York, NY


Program Information: Grand Pas from Paquita (Elena Kunikova after Marius Petipa)

Artists of Ballet West in Paquita. Photo by Luke Isley



October 11-14, 2012 – Ballet West – The Smith Center – Las Vegas, NV
Program Information:
 Emeralds (Balanchine/ Fauré)

Ballet West Principal Artist Christiana Bennett in George
Balanchine’s Emeralds. Photo by Erik Ostling



November 23-24, 2012 – Ballet West – The Browning Center – Ogden, UT
Program Information:
 The Nutcracker (Willam Christensen/ Tchaikovsky)December 5-9, 2012 – Ballet West – The Kennedy Center – Washington, DC
http://www.kennedy-center.org/events/?event=BNBSD Program Information:

The Nutcracker (Willam Christensen/ Tchaikovsky)

Christiana Bennett and Christopher Ruud in The Nutcracker.
Photo by Luke Isley



April 28, 2012 – Ballet West II – The Armstrong Hall Theater, The Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO
Program Information:
Amenta – World Premier (Tom Mattingly/ Arvo Paert)
Mobile (Tomm Ruud/ Khatchaturian)
La Ventana Pas de Trois (August Bournonville/ Hans Christian Lumbye)
Le Corsaire Pas de Deux (Marius Petipa/ Riccardo Drigo)
Rochambeau (Jodie Gates/ Luigi Dallapiccola)
The Little Mermaid (Pamela Robinson-Harris and Peggy Dolkas/ Leo Delibes)

Artists of Ballet West II in Mobile. Photo by Luke Isley



August 23, 2011 Ballet West – Wolf Trap – Vienna, VA
Program Information: The Four Temperaments (George Balanchine/ Paul Hindemith)
Grand Synthesis (Susan Shields/Graham Fitkin)
Sinfonietta (Jiří Kylián Leos Janacek) August 27, 2011 Ballet West – Chicago Dancing Festival – Chicago, IL

Program Information:
Sinfonietta (Jiří KyliánLeos Janacek)

Artists of Ballet West in Jiří Kylián’s Sinfonietta. Photo by: Luke Isley



March 5, 2011 Ballet West II –  Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts – Amarillo, TX

Program Information: Peter & the Wolf (Peter Christie/Sergei Prokofiev)
Mingling (Avhichai Scher/ Enrique Granados)
Spring Waters (Assaf Messerer/ Sergei Rachmaninoff)
Mobile (Tomm Ruud/ Aram Khachaturian)
Swan Lake Pas de Trois (Marius Petipa/ Ilyitch Tchaikovsky)
White Rabbit (Patrick Corbin/ Jefferson Airplane)
Lacramosa (Edward Stierle/ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Tarantella from Napoli (after August Bournonville/ Holger Simon Paulli)

Ryan Sargent and Jamie Lynn Schultz in Spring Waters.  Photo by Luke Isley.



October 15-17, 2010 – Ballet West – Joffrey Alumni Festival – Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall – Las Vegas, NV 

Program Information: Sinfonietta (Jiří Kylián/ Leos Janacek)

Artists of Ballet West in Jiří Kylián’s Sinfonietta. Photo by Luke Isley



Ballet West II – Iowa Tour
Iowa City, Iowa September 15, 2010
Fairfield, Iowa September 17, 2010
Hatcher Green Iowa September 18, 2010
Kalona, Iowa September 19, 2010
Muscatine, Iowa September 22, 2010 

Program Information: Peter & the Wolf (Peter Christie/Sergei Prokofiev)
Mingling (Avhichai Scher/ Enrique Granados)
Spring Waters (Assaf Messerer/ Sergei Rachmaninoff)
Mobile (Tomm Ruud/ Aram Khachaturian)
Swan Lake Pas de Trois (Marius Petipa/ Ilyitch Tchaikovsky)
White Rabbit (Patrick Corbin/ Jefferson Airplane)
Lacramosa (Edward Stierle/ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Tarantella from Napoli (after August Bournonville/ Holger Simon Paulli)

Kathryn Hein, Trevor Naumann and Kathleen Martin in Tomm Ruud’s Mobile. Photo by Luke Isley



August 28, 2010 – Ballet West- Chicago Dancing Festival- Chicago, IL 

Program Information: Serenade (George Balanchine/ Ilyith Tchaikovsky)

Artists of Ballet West in George Balanchine’s Serenade. Photo by Luke Isley



September 30-October 1, 2009 – Ballet West- Fall for Dance Festival- New York City Center- New York, NY

Program Information: Les Biches (Bronislava Nijinska/ Francis Poulenc)

Artists of Ballet West in Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Biches.  Photo by Luke Isley




For more information regarding Ballet West touring fill out the contact form below.

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Ballet West | 304 Trolley Square, SLC, UT 84102