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Ballet West: Emeralds

Ballet West’s spring performance has routinely geared itself toward an evening of shorter works rather than a full-length ballet. Where in the past the dance company’s gone completely contemporary with its repertoire, this time it’s a bit of grab bag, including both traditional and more provocatively modern pieces.

The title work, Emeralds, is just one part of an evening-length trilogy of dances George Balanchine originally staged together as Jewels (the trio filled out with “Rubies” and “Diamonds”). The distinct parts are shaped by the connotations Balanchine conjured about each precious gemstone. Of the three, Emeralds is perhaps the most lyrical and lush segment, with striking green costuming that mimics the romanticism of old French courts.

Contrast that rather traditional piece with the Utah premiere of Jiri Kylian’s far-more-contemporary “Petite Mort,” set to two popular piano concertos by Mozart. Originally choreographed for Nederlands Dance Theatre in 1996, the stark work includes six men wielding sabers who provide a physical and uncertain edginess onstage. The warmth of the piece, created by both the music and the female counterparts dancing with their own dresses, is made more profound by the sheer technical virtuosity inherent in Kylian’s movement.

Bridging the two is a bit of a showpiece in the return of Marius Petipa’s Grand Pas from “Paquita,” choreographed to the music of Ludwig Minkus. Striking such a balance between the traditional and contemporary isn’t necessarily a typical presentation for local ballet audiences. Luckily, Ballet West can brilliantly deliver the best of both ends of the spectrum. (Jacob Stringer)

Ballet West: Emeralds @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, April 13-21, 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinee April 21, $18-$74.,

Date: Apr 14, 2012
Time: 7:30 pm
Phone: 801-355-2787
Address: 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 84101
Where: Capitol Theatre