Utah Regional Ballet, a 19-member professional ballet company located in Lindon, is presenting founder Jacqueline Colledge's version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," to Félix Mendelssohn's beloved score, at Provo's Covey Center this Friday and Saturday.
Colledge is certainly not the first to be inspired by the melding of Mendelssohn's 1843 score and Shakespeare's interlocking plot of manipulative fairies, young lovers and a changeling child.
Ballet giants Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton and John Neumeier are the yardstick by which all other "Midsummer's" are measured. But Colledge said it was the work of Ballet West founder Willam F. Christensen in combination with the eloquence of the original language that inspired her as she was creating this version.
"I went directly back to Shakespeare's words so I wouldn't be too influenced by those very well-known interpretations," Colledge said. "But in depicting character and creating a sense of drama, I really felt the hand of Mr. Christensen."
Colledge was a member of Ballet West from 1968 to 1976. She retired from the stage to open the Jacqueline School of Ballet, and then in 1981 launched a pre-professional company, Utah Youth Ballet.
Four years later, that company became Utah Regional Ballet, and in 1995 moved into Utah Valley University in Orem as its performing company in residency.
Since 1999, the company has offered dancers 28-week professional contracts, plus scholarships and concurrent enrollment to dancers to UVU. Colledge is currently on faculty at Utah Valley University as the coordinator for the ballet program. Utah Regional Ballet hires professional choreographers from around the country to challenge dancers and offers students professional experience.
Choreographer Alan Hineline, who has had a long association with the Utah company, is the former artistic director of Ballet Philippines and is currently the resident choreographer and CEO of one of the most highly regarded ballet schools in the nation, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
"Jackie's school has great integrity," Hineline said in a phone interview. "It's a school with a company where the importance is placed on the education of the dancers. I've set a variety of works from classical to contemporary on the company, and it's always a joy because the training produces a very versatile dancer."
Colledge's "MidSummer's" will feature the school's youngest dancers as fireflies, with company principal dancers Kaelyn Magee as Tatania, Eduardo Permuy as Oberon, and Robert Tyler Berkett as Puck.
"MidSummer's" is typically a one-act ballet, so the other half of the program will showcase Utah Regional Ballet's junior company performing "Other Side of The Door," by Heather Gray. Gray, who is Colledge's daughter, is the director for the junior company, and has choreographed for Ballet West II and other regional companies. In May, Gray is taking URB II and the "Other Side of The Door" to the Regional Dance America's national festival in Montreal, where 88 other companies will perform over five days.
'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
Founder Jacqueline Colledge invites audiences to see her Lindon-based professional dance company, Utah Regional Ballet, perform her new choreography for "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
When • Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. Saturday matinee
Where • 425 W. Center St., Provo
Tickets • $20 center; $18 main side and mezzanine; $14 balcony (with $2 student discount); 801-852-7007; or www.coveycenter.org
More • Dancers interested in the company's summer program or Utah Valley University's dance departments (with separate majors in ballroom, ballet and modern dance), can find more information at www.uvu.edu/dance, or www.utahregionalballet.org.