Every dancer and appreciator of performance art owes a great debt to the Ballet Russe. Without this flamboyant, wandering performing arts company that flourished in the early days of the 20th century, so many legends of the dance world would never have taken the stage. There would be no Pavlova, Nijinsky or Balanchine.
The glorious, chaotic music of Rite of Spring composer Igor Stravinky—whose irregular rhythms incited wild, passionate reactions from audiences when it was first performed live—may never have been heard by anyone.
Ballet West is celebrating the Ballets Russes by performing three short pieces: Les Biches, The Prodigal Son and Polovtsian Dances from the opera Prince Igor. The world fell in love with the Ballet Russe because each performance featured stunning costumes, vibrant sets and arresting music. A Ballet Russe performance was not just about dance, it was about gracing the audience with multiple mediums of artistic expression.
Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute appears to have a similar philosophy of running a ballet company. Prepare to witness bold sets painted in bright colors, dramatic makeup and costumes that accentuate powerful, commanding choreography. The repertoire of the Ballet Russe has a unique, timeless power to captive, amuse and awe audiences that collected works of other legendary ballet companies simply so not possess. Do not miss the chance to reveal in performance art that permanently altered the international stage as we know it. (Jenny Poplar)
Treasures of the Ballets Russes @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, March 27-April 4. BalletWest.org