BYU Theatre Ballet and the Ballet Showcase Company performed the classical repertoire piece of Swan Lake at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, on Jan. 28.
The performance was directed by Ashley Parov, Shayla Bott, Hilary Wolfley and Brooke Storheim. Swan Lake, traditionally a four-act show lasting about three hours, was shortened into a one-hour family-friendly show.
This shortened show was made possible through dramaturg Belle Frohm, who worked with directors to include a narrator to fill in missing pieces of the story.
Parov said the team had been preparing since the beginning of August and wanted to create a performance that showcased the dancers both technically and artistically.
Prima ballerina Alex Hatch performed the role of Odette in the show Saturday night. It was Hatch’s second time performing this role with BYU Theatre Ballet, having previously performed in the 2019-2020 show right before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
“It’s interesting doing the ballet again with a new partner and it has been a couple of years, so I am a different dancer than I was back then,” Hatch said. “All of my choreography has stayed the same, but it is always different attacking a role with a new person … I love my partner Gordy.” Hatch was accompanied by Gordon Felesina, who played the role of Prince Siegfried.
Mira Larsen, who performed as the black swan, said the team devotes 20 hours a week to theatre ballet practices. Outside of dance, Larsen works five jobs, is earning a degree in statistics and maintains a social life.
Larsen previously danced at an international ballet school and said it was extremely challenging and often felt like a toxic environment. She also said this was a typical environment for a ballet school.
Larsen said BYU Theatre Ballet is the first program she has attended where she feels her wellbeing is placed before anything else. She said she believes this stems from attending a university supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We believe in the principles of eternal bodies and eternal spirits and that those are paramount over anything that we might produce on stage,” Parov said her co-director Bott said they wanted to create a place where dancers were safe and supported.
Hatch said she felt supported and cared for by the other dancers, saying her directors pushed her to be her best self, both on and off stage, while showing genuine care. She said she believes the program has an overarching eternal perspective.
BYU Theatre Ballet will be presenting “All Arpino” in the centennial celebration of the birth of Gerald Arpino, choreographer and co-founder of Joffrey Ballet. The performance will feature some of Arpino’s works and will run six times over the weekends of March 2 and March 9.