Utah Metropolitan Ballet opened with “Legend of Timpanogos” on Oct. 6 and will be running at Covey Center for the Arts in Provo until Oct. 8. The ballet is centered on Utah’s own Mount Timpanogos and one of the many versions of the legend that gave it its name. An enchanting tribute to Utah culture, “Legend of Timpanogos” tells the story of two young Native Americans, Timpanac and Uncanogos, and their trials of honor, rivalry, loss and love. With an incredible company headed by Sebastian Vinet and Jennifer Christie, the Utah Metropolitan Ballet exhibited many great performers — as well as a show fit for anyone (with or without a ballet-viewing experience) looking to enjoy a night of artistic revelry.
An important element of the narrative and unique contribution to the performance itself is made by Jesse James FourMountains, a Native American actor of the Apache/Dine nation. FourMountains is a guest artist and plays “Chief” in the show, taking the place of the beloved Julius Chavez who was a close friend and collaborator of the artistic/founding director, Jacqueline Colledge. Chavez passed away in Dec. of 2021 and the ballet is dedicated to his memory. Chavez, FourMountains and Colledge have shaped the ballet into a beautiful piece of storytelling, expressing the history and language of Native American culture in the most respectful of ways. The deeply meaningful modes of silent communication through movement in the ballet are extraordinary, bringing about feelings of authenticity and dedication to the story exhibited by each individual on stage.
Vinet and Christie make a spellbinding duo as Ucanagos and Timpanac. Their fluidity and grace illustrate just how hard they have worked to immerse themselves in the story — and it pays off. Vinet is the principal guest artist, originally from Santiago de Chile. Following his formal training at Escuela de Ballet del Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Vinet has traveled the world performing with many different ballets, as well as a model for agencies such as Burberry, Armani, as well as Dolce and Gabbana. Christie, originally from Michigan, trained as a member of the Michigan Ballet Theatre and has performed with other companies such as School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. At 17, she finished high school online while performing professionally in productions like “The Nutcracker,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Cinderella.” The duo’s experience is revealed through their remarkable ability to pirouette pas de deux delicately and emotionally all across the stage.There are many things that could be said of this wonderful show presented by the Utah Metropolitan Ballet, but no words can really do it justice. It is a spiritual and emotional event that one must experience in person for themselves. With the incredible choreography and direction by Jacqueline Colledge, a live orchestra conducted by Bryce Rytting with music composed by Micheal D. Babbitt, Utah Metropolitan Ballet has truly risen to be one of the greatest ballets in Utah! Buy tickets quickly before Saturday evening’s show here at this link: https://coveycenter.csstix.com/event-details.php?e=1866!