Utah Metropolitan Ballet opens season with tribute performance

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The UVU’s resident professional ballet company celebrated changing its name from Utah Regional Ballet to Utah Metropolitan Ballet (UMB) with a night of fundraising, cake and dance.

UMB started in 1981 as Utah Youth Ballet. It later became Utah Regional Ballet in 1984. The company has accomplished great things such as being featured in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Now, the company continues to enrich Utah’s community with the start of their new season.

UMB presented Tribute Sept. 20 to 22. The performance featured choreography from artistic director Jacqueline Colledge and the “father of American ballet” George Balanchine. It was a memorable performance for attendees, including four honorees, Newell Dayley, Michelle MacNeill, Sarah Price and James Christensen, who UMB considers to be contributions to Utah’s art community.

Executive chair of UMB and an emcee for the performance Sam Beeson, said, “This evening marks the beginning of Utah Metropolitan Ballet, known for excellence and contribution for the arts.”

The start of a new and redefined ballet company began with amazement as the company dancers performed elegantly on stage. An audience favorite was Legend of Timpanogas. It is an excerpt from a ballet choreographed by Colledge, which originally premiered in 1992.

With eye capturing movement and jaw dropping lifts, the audience couldn’t help but applaud as the dancers, Jennifer Christie and Colin Hathaway, expressed impressive synchronization and control.

Emeline Settlemyre, a UMB company member and ballet sophomore said that her favorite dance of the night was Balanchine’s Who Cares. “[It] always has you on the edge of your seat … and that’s what makes it so fun to watch for the audience,” she said.

Who Cares is a fun audience pleaser that looks like 1940s New York collided with ballet. Aurelio Guimaraes was exemplary with his jazzy character and ability to perform multiple piqué turns and pirouettes.

As the company danced the night away, UMB invited the community to join them in celebrating their improved ballet company by serving cake to audience members during intermission.

“We hope that as Utah Metropolitan Ballet embarks on the next phase … you will also care and participate in building a lasting legacy,” UMB’s executive board chair Shawn D. Moon said.

Tribute made a lasting impression through celebration and amazing ballet. The company announced the rest of their 2017-18 season that will feature a new envisioned Nutrcracker, the annual Choreography Design and Peter Pan.

UMB will continue their successes by bringing the community together through ballet with they’re upcoming performances. The season will end with Peter Pan. Plan on seeing this fairytale ballet in March 2018.