The Arts and U

The School of Dance opens its season with Utah Ballet

By Molly Powers, marketing and communications specialist, College of Fine Arts

The School of Dance will open its 2018-2019 season with Utah Ballet, a diverse show featuring the work of special guest Michele Wiles, a former principal dancer of ABT, accompanied by live music by Vedrana Subotic, and new works from faculty members Melissa Bobick and Christine McMillan. The program also includes a reimagining of “Paquita Grand Pas Classique” from Victoria Stocki-Kim, notable artist and former soloist with Universal Ballet Company of Seoul.

Guest artist Wiles has created a new piece that will premiere on stage at Utah Ballet. “Inspired by the seemingly mundane New York City bird most ignore every day, “Birds of a Feather” is a celebration of the surprising and under-appreciated beauty and prowess of pigeons, as well as a subtle nod to the comical nature of these creatures. Beyond this, though, it is an ode to the poignant parallels between these impressive birds and ballet.” For example, said Wiles, “Pigeons, sometimes called ‘evolutionary geniuses,’ have evolved over time to live in a vast array of climates and environments. They have been thriving and progressing as a species for centuries despite extreme temperatures, urbanization, difficult climates, and lack of resources. Over the course of ballet’s progression, the body of a dancer has evolved to physically take on so much more than before. We as a species of artist have grown immensely in strength, adaptability, creativity and intelligence, surviving the test of time in the same way pigeons have.” The choreography will be paired with a live guest performance of Haydn’s last piano sonata from Subotic of the University of Utah School of Music. “I am honored to have been invited back for another collaboration with the U’s School of Dance and Michele Wiles, featuring a series of performances at the Marriott Dance Center,” said Subotic.

Stocki-Kim has staged the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet Oleg Vinogradov version of “Paquita Grand Pas Classique” for Utah Ballet. This version was first staged by Vinogradov, after Marius Petipa, in 1978. In 1998, he became artistic director of the Universal Ballet Company of Korea where Stocki-Kim danced as a soloist for a span of 14 years. The Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet still retains Vinogradov’s version in their repertory, and many companies throughout the world include his version of the piece in their repertories. Set in Spain during the occupation of Napoleon’s army, “Paquita” tells the story of the young gypsy girl, Paquita, who is unaware that she is really of noble birth and was abducted by gypsies when she was an infant after the assassination of her parents.

The program includes an original ballet from visiting assistant professor McMillan. In her piece, ordinary resilience, McMillan explores ideas of vulnerability, vigilance, strength and resilience as twelve women navigate personal internal landscapes. “How do we experience ourselves as individuals within a group?  Even within commonality of experience, the perceptions are unique to each individual,” said McMillan. “How do we navigate this on a daily basis?”

Bobick’s new contemporary ballet, entitled, “Fractured,” explores a movement style inspired by the emotions felt when lives are fractured. “How is our experience altered when the pieces of our lives fail to come together? How do we coordinate the different versions of ourselves as we cultivate them to present to others? How do these internal negotiations with our fabricated self-identities affect us physically? The careful dissection of these questions served as my point of origin for the creation of movement in this piece,” said Bobick. In “Fractured,” she has crafted a unique movement language from these themes. By highlighting intentional dissimilarities, while carefully blending variations in dynamics, tempi, and qualities, Bobick lays bare the interplay between the individual and the group as they navigate the balance between their autonomy and their interdependence.

Don’t miss this exciting evening of ballet. Oct. 4-20 in the Marriott Center for Dance. Purchase tickets at the door or online at tickets.utah.edu, free admission for students with their UCard via Arts Pass.


UMFA Faculty Welcome Night: Using the Museum for Teaching and Research

By Iris Moulton, coordinator of campus engagement, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Educators from across campus can learn how to use visual art in their teaching and research at a Faculty Welcome Night on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. UMFA staff will be on hand to answer questions and connect with their colleagues on campus. Guests will spend part of the evening in “Site Lines: Recent Work by University of Utah Faculty,” exploring creative work by faculty in the Department of Art and Art History and the Book Arts Program, and hearing from some of the artists. The event is 5-7 p.m. Space is limited; please RSVP to iris.moulton@utah.edu.

As both the state and the university’s fine arts museum, the UMFA supports teaching, learning and research by connecting campus audiences to world-class art experiences.

The UMFA has a global collection of art, spanning antiquity to the present day. Within this are lessons on geography, geology, issues of race and gender, immigration and the story of human history. The museum provides creative inroads for many classes across campus to access course material in new and exciting ways. All a faculty member needs to know is that they want to use the UMFA in their class, and the museum will work to make that happen.

The UMFA offers guided and self-guided tours and staff members are happy to help design tours based on course curriculum, no matter how challenging or unique. Some recent examples of this include a tour examining the theme of stone for an environmental humanities course and a tour examining issues of work and labor for the Intellectual Traditions course in the Honors College. Classes from the Department of Languages and Literature periodically tour the galleries, using art as an opportunity to practice language skills. With at least three weeks’ notice, the UMFA welcomes scheduled visits to collections storage for students, teachers and researchers to examine objects that are not on view for educational and research purposes. The museum’s internship program provides students with relevant experience in the fields of arts marketing, arts education, chemistry, nonprofit management and art history.

The UMFA is a collaborative campus entity that is relevant to a wide range of disciplines. In addition to a strong partnership with the College of Fine Arts, the museum has an ongoing collaboration with the University of Utah School of Medicine, which uses the collection to encourage close-looking among students who will soon be making medical diagnoses from images. The museum works with Department of English students to develop writing prompts and host events inspired by the art on view, and the UMFA hosts yoga and mindfulness classes centered on artworks to provide a place for busy students, staff and faculty to unwind. The UMFA also hosts Sight & Sound, a live music series featuring performances by students and faculty of the School of Music.

Students, staff and faculty are always admitted free to the UMFA, thanks in part to Arts Pass, making the museum the perfect place to relax or find inspiration.