60th Anniversary Season Concludes with Choreographic Fest VI: Asian Voices June 5-8

Ballet West will conclude its 60th anniversary season with its sixth Choreographic Festival, this one titled Asian Voices, with Dance Magazine citing it as a must-see performance this season. Performances run June 5 – 8 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake.

Ballet West will present the world premieres of American Ballet Theater soloist Zhong-Jing Fang’s Somewhere in Time, with a commissioned score by Asian-American composer, Deanna H. Choi, rising-star choreographer Caili Quan’s Play on Impulse, and the Ballet West premiere of Phil Chan’s Amber Waves. Also appearing on the program is guest company BalletMet in Edwaard Liang’s Seasons in Salt Lake June 5 – 8, just in time for the Utah Asian Festival.

“For this year’s festival, I have chosen to feature Asian and Asian-American leadership in classical ballet and recognize their integral contribution to the art-form,” said Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “For an art-form that has had so many brilliant Asian performers, ballet and dance in America has far too little Asian representation in choreography, composition, and directorship. While it is my honor to celebrate Asian leadership in ballet, I hope given time we see more and more great Asian creators and leaders to bring ballet further into the 21st century.”

Ballet West will also return to the nation’s capital for its second visit this season to be part of 10,000 Dreams: A Celebration of Asian Choreography Festival and Gala June 18 – 22. Thanks to a collaborative initiative between Ballet West and Phil Chan, founder of the organization Final Bow to Yellow Face, Ballet West will present all three of the new festival ballets at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, performing alongside The Singapore Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Houston Ballet, and more.

Chan hopes these programs are stepping stones for Asian Americans. “Adam has been a leader on this conversation since 2010 when he updated the Chinese variation in The Nutcracker to really get this right,” said Chan. “Asian artistic excellence has a home at Ballet West and the next step is to weave them into programing, beyond these festivals.”

Two years ago, when Sklute invited Liang to bring BalletMet from Columbus Ohio to dance alongside Ballet West in Salt Lake City as part of this Asian Voice Festival, Liang was the only Asian artistic director of a U.S. ballet company. Liang has since taken the helm of the Washington Ballet, while continuing to oversee BalletMet. He said in a recent interview with Pointe Magazine, “I think a path is what this industry needs, whether it is 10,000 Dreams at The Kennedy Center later this year, or Ballet West also having their own Asian Voices program.”

“What’s exciting is when movement is on a national basis and you are part of the conversation to highlight areas that need to be bolstered up. Personally, it is a great way [for Asians] to be acknowledged and to be proud of being part of the American dance tapestry. We all want to be seen and heard.”

Also featured in Ballet West’s Asian Voices is New-York choreographer Quan, who danced with BalletX from 2013 to 2020. In addition to Play on Impulse, set for Ballet West, Quan has created works for BalletX, The Juilliard School, Vail Dance Festival, and American Repertory Ballet.

Fang has been choreographing pieces for numerous arenas, include the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company’s Innovation Initiative and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She has also choreographed for The New York Theatre Ballet, Columbia University Dance, Dig Dance project for the 92nd Street Y, and ABT’s Incubator project.

Tickets start at just $25 and are available online at www.balletwest.org or by calling (801) 869-6900. High-Resolution Photos: Available upon request.