SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Opening the third-annual Choreographic Festival, Ballet West will present the Utah premiere of Danseur, at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, May 8 at 7pm. The film, about the struggles of men in pursuit of their ballet dreams, will follow a panel discussion moderated by dance journalist Kate Mattingly, with panelists Artistic Director Adam Sklute and dancers of Ballet West.

Producer and Director Scott Gormley decided to explore the subject of masculinity in ballet after his young son was bullied while pursuing his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. The film takes on the difficult subjects of bullying, homophobia, and body image issues through the eyes of James Whitesides (American Ballet Theatre), John Lam (Boston Ballet), Harper Watters (The Houston Ballet), and Derek Dunn (Boston Ballet). Danseur has been an official selection at several film festivals, won several awards, and started a national conversation on boys in ballet. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

Along with the screening and panel discussion, the Choreographic Festival will present its first international company, Scottish Ballet, under the leadership of CEO and Artistic Director Christopher Hampson, which will bring Artist in Residence, Sophie Laplane’s new work, Sibilo, a United States premiere.

Laplane’s inventive piece for eight dancers features whistling (Sibilo is ‘whistle’ in Latin) with additional music from Glasgow’s Alex Menzies that modulates from electronica to mid-century pop music. The result is hilarious, moving, and eccentric.

“This year marks Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary and we are delighted to be presenting Sibiloby Artist in Residence Sophie Laplane, during a celebratory year for the company,” said Hampson. “It is great to see Sophie’s work recognized on an international level, and fitting for it to be programmed in a festival that celebrates the future of ballet.”

Also on the program for the Choreographic Festival is a world premiere from celebrated choreographer and BalletMet Artistic Director Edwaard Liang, along with new works by Ballet West artists Emily Adams, Katlyn Addison, and Trevor Naumann.

Ticket holders are also encouraged to attend Warm-Ups in the Rose Room. These free educational lectures, one hour before evening performances will be hosted by Artistic Directors, choreographers, and dancers. Finally, local artists will makeover the balcony of the Rose Wagner with an exhibit, “The Art of Dance” displaying the oil, photography, and contemporary works showing the athleticism and beauty of the art form.

Past presenters at the Choreographic Festival include Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and others. “Every year I look forward to this Festival. The terrific camaraderie that is built between all the companies is so inspiring. It is about taking chances. It is about seeing what other companies are doing. And it’s about learning from one another,” said Sklute. “This year’s program will certainly take those same risks and I’m thrilled that we are welcoming our first International Company. I know our audiences will be fulfilled by the exploration.”

The Choreographic Festival will be held at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 Broadway, Salt Lake City, Utah. Tickets start at just $50, and are available by calling (801) 869-6900, or online at www.balletwest.org.