Choreographers design their way to the top

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Utah Regional Ballet held its sixth annual Choreography Design Competition Feb. 6-7 in the Ragan Theater, where the six finalists had their choreography performed.

Two choreographers were selected for one of three divisions: emerging, students who have yet to be paid for their design; pre-professional, those currently enrolled in an institution or elite training program; or professional, for professional dancers, choreographers and/or educators that have experience.

Rose Hutchins, the emerging division winner, is a ballet major at UVU. Her design, titled “Degas,” had a Hispanic feel to it. Along with the five women, two men group scene, there was also a couple dance that was full of emotion.

McKenzie Eldredge, the pre-professional division winner, completed her degree in ballet from UVU in 2014. Her performance was titled “Love and” and was “dedicated to McKenzie and Treis Miller, and anyone else who has had to say goodbye to their love too soon,” according to the program.  The heartbreak and grief that comes with the loss of a loved one was evident through the piece.

Mary Nuttall, the professional division winner, also completed her degree in ballet from UVU.  Her choreography, titled “We Nine Move Lightly,” included more complex motions than the other pieces and had a graceful feel throughout the design.

To give the public the opportunity to see the show, the entire set was performed on both nights, with the winners and awards announced on Saturday night.

The judges were professionals in the field of dance and were not affiliated with UVU. To additionally prevent bias, they were given team numbers instead of choreographer names.

To qualify for the event, designers both with UVU and from the community were required to apply and be available to work with the company for about two weeks. This time period allowed for rehearsals with the dancers and for the pre-elimination round.

The annual competition gives dance professionals and students the chance to develop their choreography skills. The UVU Department of Dance, UVU School of the Arts and Orem City’s Cultural Arts and Recreation Enrichment grant were supporters of the event.

The URB is the resident professional ballet company at UVU. The company has performed worldwide, including China, Germany, Austria and across the US.  Jacqueline P. Colledge is the director and choreographer.

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