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Murray Journal

Ballet Centre to host International Youth Ballet Festival

Jul 23, 2018 02:40PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

The Ballet Centre will host the Fifth annual International Youth Ballet Festival with acclaimed director Oleg Vinogradov. (Photo courtesy Ballet Centre)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

As dancers say, “All the world’s a stage, so dance on it.” And in this case, it will be The Ballet Centre (4907 Poplar St.) of Murray’s stage, as it will host the Fifth annual International Youth Ballet Festival from July 31-August 9. The festival will offer a unique opportunity to bring together exceptional teachers in the disciplines of classical ballet, historical dance, and character dance with the Russian Vaganova Training. This 10-day learning experience concludes with a gala concert performance, Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Junior High School (178 East 5300 South).

“This festival will provide an experience for young students to learn from and work alongside professional dancers and teachers in group workshops as well as individual sessions,” explained Michelle Armstrong, artistic director of The Ballet Centre. “The festival will benefit emerging young ballet dancers ages 12 to 26 who are striving to become professional ballet artists and desiring to broaden their knowledge and skills in the art.”

Armstrong, who has been the artistic director of The Ballet Centre since 1992, is also the festival coordinator in Murray. She participated in the International Youth Ballet Festival in Russia for the last two years with her daughters and felt compelled to bring this experience to the dancers in and around Utah.

Through the festival, there is an opportunity to blend cultures, and Vaganova training taught by professionals will provide students with a different perspective and exposure to another ballet culture. Key events of the festival include daily classes/instruction for the participants, a two-day lecture demonstration on the principles of teaching classical ballet taught by the founder, Oleg Vinogradov.

Vinogradov is a Russian dancer, choreographer, and ballet director who has worked with major Russian ballet companies, such as the Kirov and Bolshoi ballets. He directed Russian ballet legends Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova as well as Rudolph Nureyev’s last performance at the Kirov Ballet. President George H.W. Bush invited him to set up the Kirov Academy Ballet in Washington, D.C.

“The audience can expect to see excerpts of the history of classical ballet through a timeline of how historical dance evolved into classical ballet. The concert is centered on a tribute to Marius Petipa, the grandfather of classical ballet as we know it today,” according to Armstrong. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Marius Petipa’s birth. The concert will conclude with excerpts of contemporary ballet. The pieces will be danced by all the participants of the festival.

“This festival is different in that it contains two lecture demonstrations available for ballet teachers to attend for furthering their education and sharpening their skills in teaching the art.  Another difference is the final gala performance that features all of the participants of the festival,” noted Armstrong.

“One can become more involved in ballet by becoming a patron and donating/sponsoring students in need that are learning classical ballet, or by contributing to Vivat Ballet to enable the festival to happen in Utah in 2020,” Armstrong recommended for those interested in financially helping the festival or aspiring students.

For those wishing to learn ballet, Armstrong suggested, “Another way one can become more involved is to attend ballet productions. If one is interested in taking ballet, contact The Ballet Centre and investigate beginning levels for adults as well as young children. The faculty is highly educated in the art of teaching classical ballet with many years of experience. We offer open adult classes at beginning levels, along with flexibility classes which provide opportunities and exposure to ballet. Along with the structure of ballet, it is a great way to remain physically fit.”