ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Ballet West Choreographic Festival aims to celebrate Asian contributions to dance

May 14, 2024, 2:30 PM | Updated: May 15, 2024, 11:08 am

Two dancers rehearse for a performance by Ballet West....

Ballet West principal artist Jenna Rae Herrera, left, and soloist Jordan Veit rehearse for “The Nutcracker” in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Ballet West is about to open a new show focused on contributions of Asian artists to the world of ballet. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The sixth Ballet West Choreographic Festival will feature the work of Asian choreographers. 

Ballet West announced in a press release that this Choreographic Festival will be titled “Asian Voices”. Together with multiple earlier performances, this Choreographic Festival marks Ballet West’s 60th anniversary season.

The Choreographic Festival will feature the world premiere of three brand-new works, choreographed by up-and-coming artists. Additionally, the show will feature the Ballet West premiere of Phil Chan’s piece titled Amber Waves. 

According to Adam Sklute, the artistic director of Ballet West, Asian and Asian-American dancers have made important contributions to dance. However, they have not been represented enough. 

“For an art form that has had so many brilliant Asian performers, ballet and dance in America has far too little Asian representation in choreography, composition, and directorship. While it is my honor to celebrate Asian leadership in ballet, I hope given time we see more and more great Asian creators and leaders to bring ballet further into the 21st century,” said Sklute. 

Ballet West’s Choreographic Festival will be performed June 5 – 8, 2024. It will take place at the Jeanne Wagner Theater, located in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from Ballet West’s website

Ballet West headed back to Washington, D.C. 

Following the upcoming performances, Ballet West will return to Washington, D.C. It will be the second time this season that the ballet company has performed in the nation’s capital. 

Ballet West will present each of the three works premiering at the Choreographic Festival. They will be performed as part of 10,000 Dreams: A Celebration of Asian Choreography, per the press release. 

10,000 Dreams is a festival celebrating the work of Asian choreographers. The event will take place at the Kennedy Center, according to its website

“Adam [Sklute] has been a leader on this conversation since 2010 when he updated the Chinese variation in The Nutcracker to really get this right,” said Phil Chan, the founder of Final Bow to Yellow Face. 

Related: Ballet West, Willam Christensen and the history of ballet in America

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Ballet West Choreographic Festival aims to celebrate Asian contributions to dance