BYU Theatre Ballet presents tour performance on campus

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The combination of excitement and nerves kick in as dancers wait in the wings ready to go onstage in the Pardoe Theatre. (Jonathan Hardy)
The combination of excitement and nerves kick in as dancers wait in the wings ready to go onstage in the Pardoe Theatre. (Jonathan Hardy)

The BYU Theatre Ballet brings its touring production of “Fairy Tales and Fantasy” to BYU campus for the first time Jan. 29–31.

This performance features two separate programs: the classical and contemporary repertoire on Thursday and Friday and the full-tour performance of “Fairy Tales and Fantasy” on Saturday.

Artistic Director Shani Robison said, “I wanted to be able to showcase the contemporary works that we’ve been working on as well as the classical for those that like both, but then on Saturday to continue our tradition of bringing families together for an evening of art.”

Program one (Thursday and Friday) includes excerpts from “Cinderella,” “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty” as well as three contemporary pieces: “Virtues’ Oddity,” by Alexandre Munz; “S/S 2015,” by Ihsan Rustem; and “Removed,” by Shani Robison.

Parisian choreographer Alexandre Munz came to BYU for a month last winter semester and taught the Theatre Ballet every day, bringing his European semantic practice and methodology to the United States for the first time. He turned part of his typical methodological movement into a choreographic work for dancers.

“It’s been so good for the dancers to explore that kind of movement,” Robison said of Munz’s time at BYU. Munz’s choreography in “Virtues’ Oddity” can be seen in program one on Thursday and Friday.

European dancer Ihsan Rustem came from his home in Switzerland to teach the Theatre Ballet his contemporary work entitled “Spring/Summer 2015.” His strong dance background is mainly in ballet, but this piece is the first he has ever choreographed en pointe.

“It was really fun to explore with him and have the dancers work with him one-on-one,” Robison said.

The third contemporary piece featured in program one is Robison’s new piece from this year, entitled “Removed.” She said she always likes to implement some kind of message into her contemporary works.

“It’s about the struggles that … tend to overtake us at times; but then eventually we’re free from them, we overcome them, and we have new hope again,” she said.

Rachael Bede provokes the manipulated ways of the black swan in BYU Theatre Ballet's performance of "Swan Lake." (Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey.)
Rachael Bede performs as the black swan in BYU Theatre Ballet’s performance of “Swan Lake.” (Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey)

Program two on Saturday is the full-tour performance of “Fairy Tales and Fantasy.” Robison said, “It’s exciting because we’ve never done it on campus even though we’ve toured it for six years. This is very fun to be able to show the campus community what we do on tour.”

Program two includes excerpts from “Swan Lake” and “Raymonda,” “Prologue Fairies” from “Sleeping Beauty,” Act III of “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella” Act I and “Snow White and Prince Pas de Deux.”

Robison said she chose these ballets because they tend to resonate more with the audience. “The audience is able to get a sense of the stories because it’s told in a storybook fashion,” she said.

Program two also includes an intermission dance, where children are invited onstage to dance with the performers.

Before each of the performances the Theatre Ballet will put on a traditional “Prince and Princess Party,” which starts one hour before the performance. Children are able to dress up in their fairy or prince outfits and meet the dancers, including Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

Children will receive a treat and will be able to take pictures with their favorite characters and dancers. “It’s just neat for these kids to be able to connect with these dancers ahead of time because then when they see them on stage it means that much more,” Robison said.

Performances of “Fairy Tales and Fantasy” run Thursday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. for ages 2 and up. The program offers an intimate setting in the Pardoe Theatre.

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