The Department of Dance’s Repertory Ballet Ensemble held To the Pointe from Feb. 28 to Mar. 2. The production included choreography by UVU associate professors Mark Borchelt and Jamie A. Johnson, and was bookended by choreography by Jacqueline Colledge and Bill Evans. Each one of these is a major name in the dance world with roots in Utah County.

The show opened with “Concerto Classique”. Set to Violin
Concerto in D major and Op. 77 III. Allegro giocoso by Johannes Brahms and
choreography by Jacqueline Colledge. According to Associate Professor Jamie A.
Johnson,  “[Colledge] was approached by
the then Utah Valley State College to create the ballet program here.”

This piece was fairly standard for what one thinks of when
they think of ballet. The costumes were beautiful crimson with gold fringe. The
physical prowess of the dancers was demonstrated through their dances and lifts
with the help of Qing Sun, who appeared courtesy of the Utah Metropolitan
Ballet for the first piece.

The second piece of the evening,“Between Awakening,” featured choreography by Mark Borchelt and music by Joni Mitchell. This piece broke away from traditional ballet — not just musically, although using Joni Mitchell is far from the Swan Lakes and the Nutcrackers that one expects of ballet, but also stylistically. The dance seemed to speak of loss and fear and isolation.

The third piece was an excerpt of “Sleeping Beauty” with staging done by Mark Borchelt and Jamie A. Johnson based on the choreography legendary Marius Petipa. The music was by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, romantic composer extraordinaire who composed both Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. The dancers wore standard white tutus and pointe shoes.

“Caravanserai” choreographed by Jamie A. Johnson and dancers. (Photo by Meghan DeHaas.)

The fourth piece of the evening was “Caravanserai,” choreographed by Johnson in collaboration with the dancers, composed by DeLane Doyle. This piece featured gradient brown costumes that matched the sullen, slow movements and lifts performed by the dancers.

Prior to the final piece, choreographed by Bill Evans, Mark
Borchelt spoke to the audience about Evans and his history in Utah’s dance
community.

The final piece was “Passionsong (1998),” with music by Max Bruch, a German Romantic composer. This piece was intense— Bruch’s composition created an energy that matched the violent motions performed by the dancers, which matched the brightly colored dresses the dancers wore. It all came together for a beautifully surreal piece performed with great respect for a man who has earned it through his work in the dance world.

“It’s the connections of life that are just so extraordinary, and we see it daily in the work that these students do,” Burchelt said. “When we’re working with them as closely as we are on a daily basis, I can assure you that, as talented as they are, they are extraordinary human beings.”

Photos by Meghan DeHaas.

Meghan DeHaas

Photographer, @Meghan_De.Haas on Instagram