The School of Dance, Ballet Program Senior Class, presents “Our Final Bow”

April 19 2018

The School of Dance Ballet Senior Showcase will feature performances and choreography by the graduating class from the Ballet Program. The purpose of the performances is to honor the dedication and hard work of the seniors and to give them a unique opportunity to produce their own show.

The show is framed by two larger group pieces; the opening number choreographed by Nell Josephine and the closing number choreographed by Alex Sprague. Variations from classical ballet repertoire make up the bulk of the show. Ultimately, each senior had the opportunity to choose whether they wanted to dance a solo or a duet. The entire program reflects the agency that the performers exercised throughout the process of producing this show.

A group piece entitled They Told Me To Be Different opens the show. Nell Josephine created this piece using a collaborative process, and she says she was eager to explore an emotive movement vocabulary for her peers. Josephine says, “They Told Me To Be Different is a cultivation of the tools taught to me during my time at the University of Utah—both as a performer and choreographer. Constantly inspired by the dancers in the piece, the movement evolved from their exploration and creativity, as well as my own research in what this piece meant for me. This new work highlights the ways in which we form bonds with others while discovering who we are as individuals.”

The classical ballet repertoire featured throughout the performance ranges in style and historical context. The anchoring quality in each solo and duet is the personal resonance that the dance evokes for the individuals.

Each senior used her own criteria for choosing her piece. Some dancers chose variations that exemplify their artistry. For example, Keasha Misiaszek will perform Swanhilda’s playful solo from the first act of Coppelia. Furthermore, Sidney Haefs will take on the heart-wrenching “Temple Destruction” excerpt from La Bayadère.

Other seniors have decided to challenge their technical abilities for this performance, as in Lexie Cheyne’s daring solo from the ballet Laurencia. In addition to performing in the show, Cheyne has graciously acted as the Student Director for the Ballet Senior Showcase. “As the Student Director, I’ve acted as a liaison between our Faculty Supervisor, Melissa Bobick, and the senior class,” Cheyne explains. “It has also been my job to delegate responsibilities, make decisions about the show, and make sure everything is getting done and moving in the right direction, to ensure a successful show. I’m also like a team captain trying to pump everyone up and keep things fun and exciting!”

Other seniors chose to distinguish themselves by performing landmark works. Brooke Huebner received permission from The Gerald Arpino Foundation to perform an excerpt from Italian Suite. The piece was originally set on her mother, a former dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. Anne Gutcher will partner with Ballet Program student Brendan Rupp in the grand pas de deux from Le Corsaire. Both Huebner and Gutcher embody individuality and epitomize the resilience and integrity that graduates of the Ballet Program encounter here at the U.

The School of Dance Ballet Senior Showcase runs 4/19 at 5:30P, 4/20 at 7:30P and 4/21 at 2P and 7:30P at The Marriott Center for Dance.