Photos by Julie Ostler
The Utah Regional Ballet opened their annual spring fairy tale ballet, Snow White, at the Covey Center for the Arts March 10. The Grimm Brothers tale was adapted by artistic director Jacqueline Colledge.
The URB is a professional ballet company in residence with UVU. However, there are some dancers from out-of-state who work for the company.
Christopher Young, special guest artist and company retiree, played the role of the King. Jamie Johnson, guest dancer and assistant professor of dance, was cast as the Evil Queen. Dance students were enchanted while watching their professor perform.
“Anyone in the ballet department knows that Jamie Johnson has an impressive presence. … She is simply captivating to watch,” said Rebecca Penn-Pierson, a ballet major.
When producing a ballet, a lot of work is done to ensure the audience has a pleasant experience. Rebecca Vidales, a dancer in the URB, said there were production complications with the timing for the Evil Queen’s grand mirror scene.
There were two moments on stage where a mirror as tall as the stage itself sweeps down, revealing videography of the Evil Queen’s reflection, as well as projections of Snow White. Johnson had to mimic pre-recorded gestures in synchronicity with what the mirror was reflecting. Despite minor difficulties, the mirror was a huge success that added to the ballet spectacle.
“I’d say [it’s] magical, enchanting, and whimsical. [The audience] should expect a magical production. … They are sure to enjoy it,” said Vidales.
The production staff charmed the audience as they created a foggy night onstage. Fog in a theater setting is hard to work with, because it’s uncontrollable and could obstruct the audience’s view. The staff avoided this by using the fog sparingly, which enhanced the mystical scenes on the stage.
Along with the production, the dancers’ technique deserves praise. What caught the eye during this performance was the supporting choreography of the core de ballet. For example: instead of watching the lead huntsman, the eye was drawn to the henchman upstage with their multiple double tour en l’air and perfected soft landings. A rather enjoyable aspect of this ballet was the seven dwarfs.
“I really liked the seven dwarfs. I thought that was really cute and funny,” said Kelsey Willets, a member of the audience.
The young boys playing the dwarfs encouraged attendees to laugh, but their impeccable stretched ankles and lengthened knees were impressive. These are goals every ballet dancer strives for. Although the story line of Act 3 was rough and confusing, the ballet ended well. The pas de deux between Snow White and her prince captured eloquence.
The glitter falling from above the stage was simply magical. The cast posed underneath the sky of sparkles before the curtain call, which was something to remember. Overall, Snow White was a spectacular show, especially with its grand finale.