Ballet West embracing the pioneer spirit for season opener

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A tough economy calls for pioneering efforts, and that's what Ballet West dancers are offering in their season opener, welcoming Kurt Bestor and a former artistic director.

Ballet West will return to its roots with "Songs of the Valley." Its efforts to capture the spirit of the pioneers will include the talents of Utah favorite, composer-conductor Kurt Bestor.

"We sometimes forget the spirit of why we're even here in the middle of the desert, why the desert is blooming, and why we can make it work. So, during tough times, it's a good reminder," Bestor said.

"Songs of the Valley" is particularly poignant and memorable to a couple of gentlemen who first brought it to Ballet West more than 30 years ago. In 1976, Bruce Caldwell was in the original cast. Now he's teaching the next generation.

Caldwell, the ballet master and archivist for Ballet West, said, "It's not a bunch of swans, but it is beautiful movement that recreates the arduous nature of what went before our time," he said.

Thirty-three years ago, Bruce Marks came from the Royal Danish Ballet as Ballet West's new artistic director. He's directing the restaging, believing the pioneer vision, which included the arts, remains today.

"Salt Lake has always known the value of arts and arts education--I mean from Brigham Young building the opera house first, which I think says what a city planner he was, to the present support that we have," Marks said.

The dancers simply hope to keep that support by reminding audiences of the strength and determination that defines them and their community.

Ballet West will perform "Songs of the Valley" and two other pieces Friday and Saturday, and again Nov. 4 through the 7 at the Capitol Theatre.



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Carole Mikita


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