UVU alumnae return for choreography competition

Six choreographers helped bring the best out of ballet dancers during the Utah Regional Ballet (URB) choreography competition held in the Ragan Theatre Jan. 26-27. The choreographers come from around Utah to compete for a $1000 prize using the help of students, faculty and pre-professional dancers. They only had one week to learn and master a new dance while working with a new choreographer.

“The reason I love it so much is it not only gives choreographers a place [where] they can create works and have their work on stage with really good dancers, but it also helps my dancers to work quickly and adapt to new styles,” said Jackie College, artistic director of the URB and the ballet program director at UVU. “If I see anything that I really like then I bring them into our repertory and invite them to come back and lecture. …It’s not always the ones that win that I choose.”

Three UVU alumnae returned to compete for the grand prize: Jessica Salter, who is a ballet instructor at BYU and choreographer of Betwixt; Candace Egbert, who teaches at The Dance Conservatory and choreographed Kaleidoscope; finally, Jocelyn Smith, who teaches dance at Provo High and is a member of The Penguin Lady Dance Collective in Salt Lake. Her piece is called Remember When….

Choreography is definitely what I enjoy. I find the creative process to be really challenging and fulfilling, said Salter. I enjoy the opportunity to get in the studio with a group of people and make something.Kaleidoscope was enchanting with the geometry of classical ballet. The dance was charming with its triangular shapes and wavy lines, which lent to its visual appeal. Betwixt was more contemporary in its approach, but there was plenty of classical infused throughout. It was set to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It was as if the notes of the music were dancing on the stage, bringing Bach’s masterpiece to life in front of the audience. Remember When… wasstriking with its modern approach. Time was the central theme in this piece, and Smith did a wonderful job of capturing the memories and experiences that are trapped in it.

After the competition, College selects a few dancers to participate in a three-week residency with the URB, while some of the choreographers are then invited back to lecture or hold workshops at UVU. It’s always super exciting and interesting to remember how smart dancers have to be, because we think of dance in terms of physical prowess and technique. Every time I choreograph, it’s just so nice to have dancers who understand music and pick things up quickly, said Salter. After the competition, College will select dancers to participate in a three-week residency with the URB, while some of the choreographers are then invited back to lecture or hold workshops at UVU.

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