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Utah Ballet’s “Focal Pointe” to Feature Works of Classical and Contemporary Ballet

Ballet dancers

March 24, 2004 — The University of Utah’s resident ballet company, Utah Ballet, long recognized as one of the finest collegiate dance troupes in America, will present its spring concert, “Focal Pointe,” in Kingsbury Hall, April 8 through 10, at 7:30 p.m., with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. The program runs 90 minutes. Tickets for the event range from $5 to $12. Tickets are available by calling 801-581-7100, 801-355-ARTS, online at, or at any ArtTix outlet. Conrad Ludlow and Richard Wacko, both associate professors in the University’s Ballet Department, are co-artistic directors for the event.

“Focal Pointe” will feature both classical and contemporary ballet.

Set to the music of Charles Gounod and choreographed by Ludlow, “Faust” captures the story of Faust, an aged, disillusioned philosopher, who seizes a cup of poison to end his existence. Mephistopheles intervenes with the vision and promise to make him young again. But it is only a dream forged by Mephistopheles to seduce an elderly Faust in order to obtain Faust’s immortal soul.

“Ice,” a contemporary piece premiering on the program, is also choreographed by Ludlow and is performed to music by Philip Glass. The work is an abstract, neoclassic ballet that features shimmering costumes and bold movements. It is a representation of the changing modes between ice and the fluidity of water.

“Cycle,” the third piece on the program, was choreographed by Bene Arnold, a prominent Ballet Department retired faculty member who first premiered the work at Kingsbury Hall in 1968 as her thesis presentation. Set to Ernest Bloch’s “Sinfonia Breve,” this ballet inspires imagination. “The programmatic context of ‘Cycle’ is developed through your own eyes and emotions. There is no correct interpretation, only your own,” notes Arnold.

Wacko notes, “One of the most exciting aspects of the show is that an emeritus is presenting a piece that hasn’t been presented in 36 years.”

The final program piece is “Vishnu,” choreographed by University ballet student Mark Harootian. “Vishnu” is an East Indian piece that is a representation of Hinduism and its supreme God: The One, He or Divine Being. The ballet chronicles the creation of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, Hinduisms’ holy trinity. “Authentic costuming and eastern movements make this an enlightening and truly international experience,” notes Wacko. This ballet is set to music by Dj Cheb I Sabbah. “We knew Utah Ballet could excel at ‘Vishnu’ so we were very excited to present this student production,” Wacko says.

Founded in 1982 by the University of Utah Department of Ballet, Utah Ballet has thrived in a university setting that combines excellent dance education with numerous performance opportunities. Utah Ballet dancers, who regularly tour throughout Utah, are recruited from top performing arts schools and pre-professional regional companies across the nation.