Ballet Showcase Company displays its versatility

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Ballet Showcase makes a comeback this weekend with nine new pieces choreographed by students and faculty members. (Photo courtesy BYU Department of Dance)
The fall annual Ballet Showcase features nine original pieces with a special appearance by BYU Theater Ballet Nov. 22–23 in the Dance Studio Theatre of the Richards Building.

The repertoire show includes a variety of works ranging from contemporary to classical ballet, and from neo-classical ballet to jazz. The one-hour-and-20-minute show starts with a piece choreographed by a student from BYU Theater Ballet. Other pieces are choreographed by Shayla Bott, assistant professor of the Ballet Department, Shani Robison, associate professor of the Ballet Department, adjunct contemporary dance teachers and two BYU alumni.

Shayla Bott, director of Ballet Showcase, said because of the variety of the showcase, people who come will find something they love about it.

“What’s exciting about the show is there’s something for everybody,” Bott said. “So if you don’t know anything about dance, there’s something that’s gonna catch your eye. If you do know a lot about dance, there’s going to be a lot for that audience too.”

To be part of the show, students auditioned two weeks before school started. Dancers who were chosen for Ballet Showcase have been practicing approximately 25 hours per week since August to present their best to the audiences.

Chloe McWilliams, a sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., said she had not been performing for a year and felt the lack of  “adrenaline” inside her for not being on the stage for such a long time.

“I’m craving for show times,” McWilliams said. “I’m so excited to be here. For us dance is like a part of our life. It’s like who we are. You know it’s like a huge part of my life that people don’t get to see every day. And so for them to see that other part of who I am, it’s so important for me if people come watch me perform.”

Kourtney Rentz, a dance major from Provo, shared her first experience with Ballet Showcase Company this year.

“I’m excited,” Rentz said. “We love to perform. We dance our whole life, so we kind of experience that. But this is our first time at BYU being part of the college team.”

Bott said this year, Ballet Showcase has a highly skilled and versatile group of dancers. Dancers can easily step into a classical piece and then switch back to a contemporary dance without troubles.

“The exciting part of being the director is watching the dancers mature and grow into more seasoned performers, start to take more artistic risks and start to learn how to make artistic choices,” Bott said.

McWilliams hopes that people coming to the show will have a better understanding of dancers’ hard work and dedication.

“There’s something that comes out from all of us on stage,” McWilliams said. “You can’t see it anywhere else. There’s passion that comes out. For us it’s such a meaningful experience. And that’s what we want to convey. You are watching a really incredible experience.”

Ballet Showcase will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22–23, at 7:30 p.m., in the Richards Building. There will also be a Saturday matinée show at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-2981, or at byuarts.com/tickets.

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