Not all ballet is tried-and-true Balanchine, Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev and Stravinsky. Sure, these classically safe hallmarks can be both entertaining and exciting—but there is always an added energy in the new and experimental, the contemporary and post-structural.
According to Ballet West’s artistic director, Adam Sklute, the reason he created Innovations three years ago was exactly that: to use it “as a platform to present and experiment with new ballet creations. Its mission is twofold: A. to expose audiences and artists alike to new and cutting-edge creations from around the world, and B. to develop company artists’ abilities not just as dancers but as choreographers; one aspect feeds the other.”
This year, three Ballet West dancers—principal artist Michael Bearden, artist Aidan DeYoung and artist Megan Furse—will get a chance to premiere original work alongside two other prominent choreographers: Helen Pickett (who recently staged works with both the Boston Ballet and the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet), and Ririe- Woodbury Dance Company’s Artistic Director Charlotte Boye-Christensen.
“Many of our dancers have a desire to choreograph,” says Sklute. “Again, the only way they will learn how to do it is to have the opportunity to experiment, take chances and work alongside more established choreographers, and learn how to communicate their ideas to other dancers and collaborators. What is exciting for the audience, in my opinion, is being able to see these experiments and the many different voices that emerge.”