Students and Professor fly to New York to make their New York City debuts among international ballet stars

January 11 2019

Eight ballet dancers from the School of Dance and Associate Professor-Lecturer Vedrana Subotic from The School of Music will fly to the city that never sleeps to make their New York City debuts at New York Live Arts, one of the City’s premier dance venues, February 19 - 25. The dancers will perform as part of BalletNext, a small troupe of internationally renowned ballet dancers created seven years ago by former American Ballet principal Michele Wiles. School of Music's Vedrana Subotic will be performing solo works by Haydn and Bach which Wiles has created original choreography to accompany. 

“Our dancers are trained for professional careers in ballet,” said Luc Vanier, who has headed the School of Dance since 2016. “This semester’s partnership with BalletNext, a company of stellar performers, has presented our students with a series unprecedented experiences, challenges and opportunities, both inside and outside the studio. Over the past semester they have worked with Michele Wiles, a world class ballerina, on new works which they will perform in New York before some of the world’s most discerning audiences and demanding critics.”

Selected by Wiles, who has been guest teaching at U’s School of Dance this past semester, the selected Utah performers will be seen in two New York premieres by Wiles: “Hey Wait” and “Birds of a Feather.”

“Hey, Wait,” featuring all eight of the rigorously-trained Utah students, is set to “Vibrer” by master jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell, who performs it live with Luis Pedromo on piano. Embodying the spirit of its ever-changing jazz score, the ballet slyly shifts from duets to octets to trio to solos to quartets. “Hey, Wait” marks Wiles third collaboration with Harrell.

“Birds of a Feather,” created by Wiles in Salt Lake this fall, is set to a series of Haydn’s last piano sonatas, to be played at NYLA by the U’s Dr. Vedrana Subotic. Mauro Bigonzetti’s “La Follia,” a duet commissioned and premiered by BalletNext in 2011, will be danced at NYLA by Wiles and Danielle Dreis, a senior in the ballet division.

In addition to Dreis, the Utah dancers include seniors Tia Sandman, Sydney May, Amy McMaster, Sarah Murphy, and sophomores Emma Anjali, Juliana Godlewski and Lauren Wattenburg,

“It was an exciting revelation to work with such a crop of exquisitely trained, talented and versatile young performers,” said Wiles. “Their willingness to work hard, their focus and their commitment is nothing short of top dollar professional. The ballets they are performing are technically and musically challenging, and these dancers are up to it.”

Additional season highlights feature guest appearances by internationally celebrated dancers New York City Ballet principal Maria Kowroski and former New York City Ballet principal Amar Ramasar in “Bachground” by Mauro Bagonzetti. Originally choreographed for and premiered by BalletNext in 2012, the duet is set to Bach’s Solo Piano, which will be performed by pianist Dr. Vedrana Subotic.

At BalletNext, the search for innovation trumps convention. In 2011, Michele Wiles, one of New York's most acclaimed dancers, founded the company with the vision to provide a platform for leading dancers, choreographers, and musicians. As a result, new work is produced and performed in an environment that promotes experimentation, creative problem solving, and a focus on process. 

The School of Dance at the University of Utah, founded by William Christensen in 1952, was the first Ballet Department in an American university. Christensen, who founded the San Francisco Ballet with his brother Lew, applied same rigorous demands to the training of the Utah students as he did to the professional dancers at the SFB. Committed to fostering future generations of artists in technical, educational and scholarly excellence, the school’s curriculum ensures a well-rounded liberal arts education. Its dancers have graduated into top-ranking ballet companies world-wide and are heading dance departments at prestigious colleges and universities. The School of Dance includes a Modern Dance Program, which adheres to the same values as its Ballet Program. The New York Live Arts performances mark the re-establishment of the School of Dance’s connection to New York City, and exposure to discerning audiences and critics in a city known as the dance capital of the world.

New York Live Arts is a center of diverse artists devoted to body-based investigation that transcends barriers between and within communities led by world-renowned artist Bill T. Jones. We are a place that brings people together to explore common values through live gathering and performance reminding us of our humanity and elevating the human spirit.