The Arts and U

The U’s ballet program shows off strength and versatility in 'Utah Ballet' concert

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

The first of a two part concert series, Utah Ballet, opens Oct. 31  at the Marriott Center for Dance. Showcasing the strength and versatility of the U’s ballet program, this concert features an eclectic mix of ballet classics and fresh choreographic works.

“The language of ballet has been evolving throughout generations and this is reflected in the repertories of countless ballet companies around the world,” says concert director Pablo Piantino. “As faculty members of the School of Dance, we have a responsibility to introduce and challenge our students, and our community, to these trends and changes in the field.”

Utah Ballet’s program includes the second act of “Giselle,” choreographed in 1842 by Jean Corelli and Jules Perrot and masterfully restaged by Jay Kim, assistant professor in the School of Dance. This ghostly romantic tale of deceit, forgiveness and the triumph of love will surely be an audience favorite. On the other end of the spectrum, as an African American artist committed to dance for social justice, Charles O. Anderson offers “(Re)current Unrest We the People,” a work that gives testimony through contemporary-dance expressions of the African diaspora, performed by students from both the ballet and modern programs.

Alejandro Cerrudo is a choreographer sought after all over the world, and his piece “Second to Last” has been set on the students by Piantino. “It is truly a treat for me as a re-stager to be able to set ‘Second to Last’ on our students, a work Alejandro choreographed for Ballet Arizona several years ago,” says Piantino. “When I asked him what the work was about he said, ‘…relationships perhaps, I’m not sure. I think the dance should speak for itself.’”

The final work of the program is “Carmina Terra,” choreographed by Susan Jaffe, one of America’s greatest ballerinas. Declared by the New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina” Jaffe was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre from 1980-2002. Jaffe presents a challenging, yet fulfilling ballet that will further showcase our dancers’ ability to perform at the highest levels.

“The inspiration for ‘Carmina Terra’ (Earth Songs) is inspired by the natural spirals in nature. You see these spirals in seashells, the way water spirals going down a drain and the spinning spiral of the galaxy. These types of spirals twist and turn within the choreography, and coupled with the transcendent contemporary music, creates an otherworldly environment of rhythm, detail and kinetic force.”

"Utah Ballet" runs Oct. 31-Nov. 7, 2019, at the Marriott Center for Dance.

Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.utah.edu.

Hit Broadway play "The Lifespan of a Fact" comes to PTC

Constance Macy (Emily Penrose), Ben Cherry (John D'Agata), and John Kroft (Jim Fingal)

The Broadway hit play "The Lifespan of a Fact," based on the true story between essayist John D'Agata and fact-checker Jim Fingal, runs at Pioneer Theatre Company (PTC) Nov. 1-16, 2019. Tickets for this production can now be purchased by calling 801-581-6961 or visiting tickets.pioneertheatre.org.

Unorthodox essayist John D'Agata is played by Ben Cherry. Jim Fingal, the young fact-checker assigned to review his essay about the suicide of a young man is played by John Kroft. Fingal's demanding editor, Emily Penrose, is played by Constance Macy.

D’Agata, both a real-life magazine essayist and a character in the play, states “I’m not interested in accuracy; I’m interested in truth.” Weaving the delicate balance between truth and accuracy is always at the forefront of a reporter’s stories, but none more so than the story of "The Lifespan of a Fact." Timely, hilarious and devastating, "The Lifespan of a Fact" explores what it takes to tell a story in the news—and how difficult "facts" can be to distinguish from "beliefs" and "opinions."

Contains strong language and the storyline references an essay about a young man's suicide.

Cherry was recently seen at PTC in last season's "Oslo." He has appeared on Broadway in "Indecent" and "Fiddler on the Roof" and was in the national tour of "Mary Poppins." On TV, Cherry has been seen in "The Following," "Smash" and "I Love You...But I Lied."

Kroft has appeared on TV in "Blue Bloods" and "Red Oaks," and on stage for "Dan Cody's Yacht" (MTC), "Arcadia" (Juilliard) and "Troilus and Cressida" (Columbia.)

Macy is an Indianapolis-based actor who has worked at the Indiana Repertory Theatre since 1990. She appeared at PTC in the 2011 production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" and has performed in several other regional theaters around the country.

Director Wes Grantom returns after last season's "The Lion in Winter," as well as the Ken Ludwig's "Comedy of Tenors." He most recently directed "Beep Boop" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as received multiple Drama League Fellowships.

For more information on the production team and the show itself, click here.