Ballet West going ahead with season despite economy

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The financial crisis has hit arts organizations throughout the country. Some dance companies have canceled programs and laid off performers.

Utah's own Ballet West will close for one week in April, preferring a furlough to layoffs. In the meantime, the company moves forward with its season, premiering "Madame Butterfly" and introducing a new principal dancer to Utah audiences.

Romi Beppu makes her Ballet West debut as Cio-Cio San in the regional premiere of "Madame Butterfly." She comes with quite a resume: dancing for New York City's American Ballet Theatre and The Boston Ballet. She also comes excited to meet the challenges of this piece.

Ballet West going ahead with season despite economy

"To have the audience understand and really relate to her story, I think, was one of the biggest challenges, but rewarding at the same time," Beppu said.

This season's performances will go on, but because so many companies throughout the country are cutting back and in anticipation of a tough economy here, Ballet West's administrative staff will take that one-week furlough in April.

"Being proactive enabled us to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, move forward, not impact the artistic product, not impact what our audiences deserve to see and grown to expect from us," said artistic director Adam Sklute.

But Sklute says the arts have always gone through difficult times; and besides, what better way to escape the difficulties than at the ballet?

"Now, more than ever, people need the arts, people need to step away from the realities of their life and go into the wonderful and beautiful illusion of the theater. That's what we're in the business of doing. That's why we've always been successful during tough financial times," Sklute said.

Ballet West's "Madame Butterly" and the contemporary piece "Gong" will run through Feb. 21. For more information, CLICK HERE.


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Carole Mikita


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