Get to the Pointe

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Get to the Pointe is a perfect performance for those new to the art of ballet because it showcases three distinct styles. The audience is dazzled by the perfect lines and geometry of classical ballet. Then, they are inspired by the dramatic weight-shifts and floor work of the contemporary pieces until being raptured by the energy of modern ballet.

The transitions between styles are flawless and easy follow, which makes for a visual treat for viewers to revel in.

“Each piece has its own sort of entity, and as a result, each experience is very different,”said Mark Borchelt, artistic director of the performance. “To me, any art form should reflect back to an audience its own potentiality of humanity.”

Sabrina Riggin and Christian Tippets, both seniors in ballet, lead the ensemble. Their chemistry as dance partners is palpable. Tippets appears to use little effort as he lifts and swings Riggin during the more intense dance segments.

Their on-stage relationship lends credibility to the stories told in each dance. The performance begins with the introduction from Sleeping Beauty, when the fairies arrive to bestow their gifts upon Aurora. Riggin leads the dancers in a fantastic display of classical ballet; they are the picture of poise and grace as they pirouette and allegro across the dance floor. Get to the Pointe is a collaborative effort between Borchelt, ballet instructor Heather Gray and Daniel Charon, artistic director of Ririe Dance Company in Salt Lake City.

The dancers present a fantastic display of molecular tension in Borchelt’s piece called “Cloud Burst,” which draws inspiration from the interaction of molecules. Stunning lifts and weight shifts are offset by recognizable ballet positions in Grey’s contemporary dance.

All elements of classical ballet are lost in Charon’s bare-footed dance, and is loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The focus and grace of the dancers is eye-catching as they navigate the difficult leaps, back bends and different tempos of each piece. The diverse pieces are meant to challenge the dancers so that they are prepared for the competitive field of ballet.

“The dancers have to learn quickly. They observe and reflect. They know how to articulate their self-expression, and these young men and women know how to concentrate over long periods of time,” said Borchelt. “These skills are life skills and transferrable to other areas of their life.”Get to the Pointe performs Jan. 20 and 21 in the Regan Theatre.