UVU’s ballet ensemble stands with Ukraine

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Repertory Ballet Ensemble collaborated with numerous departments and disciplines to deliver their performance of “Hansel and Gretel.”

Reading Time: < 1 minute

UVU’s Repertory Ballet Ensemble showcased their talents at the Noorda Center this past weekend on Feb. 17 and 18. The performance consisted of two acts; the first was a tightly choreographed ballet backlit by a projector screen, which complemented the dance with fluid, abstract art. The second act was a nonverbal retelling of the classic fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.”

The Repertory Ballet Ensemble directors, Jamie A. Johnson and Christa St. John, spoke on the cross-departmental and interdisciplinary nature of the performance. They “saw the need for a large-scale, collaborative project to build community” in the School of the Arts. The performance, especially the first act, involved collaborations from artists, musicians, designers and dancers from various companies and universities in both Utah and Kentucky.

Collaboration and togetherness were emphasized on the stage as much as they were behind the scenes. The “Hansel and Gretel” second act was directed with the current events happening in Ukraine in mind. Evidence of this inspiration can be seen in the costume and set design of the performance, with Hansel and Gretel adorned in blue and yellow garb and the villainous witch wearing a red dress reminiscent of traditional Russian fashion.

The nods to the Ukrainian conflict are subtle yet essential to the performance. “Art does not exist in a vacuum,” Johnson and St. John explained. “It is a product of its current place and time.”

The performance was a wonderful showcase of UVU’s exceptional talent in dance, art and theater. Although the performance was entirely nonverbal, the narrative was never unclear because of the expressive body language and movements of the cast.