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Ballet West Academy - Utah

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The current director of the Ballet West Academy is Peter Christie. There was a rather extensive article in the local paper a few weeks ago about the Academy. I think that there is a link on the Ballet West website.


The school is taught at 2 locations, the studios at the Capitol Theatre and additional studios at the Utah Opera building. Another building has been purchased but I do not know what the current timeline is for renovation/conversion of that space.


There are many levels, I know only about the Adv classes. The instructors are Peter Christie, Jan Fugit, Jeff Rogers, Sharee Lane and Maureen Laird for the advanced level. Sharee and Maureen are also professors at the University of Utah Dept of Ballet and they are both some of the most gifted and articulate instructors that I have ever seen. Jeff Rogers was a principal dancer with Ballet West and he taught a pas de deux class that I watched part of last week. He was able to explain better than any pas instructor I have seen how partnering should "feel" and it was crazy to see the immediate improvement in the class. Peter is an exceptional teacher. I have watched many adult classees that he teaches as well and he is able to make every person feel like he is teaching a private class to them.


Both Adam Sklute, the new AD of Ballet West and Mark Goldweber, the new Ballet Master guest teach at the Academy. They are working with Mr Christie to make the BW Academy a feeder for BW2 and the company. There is one member of the company currently who trained exclusively at the Academy.


I have seen a marked change in attitude with the students. They are more serious and focused and I am pleased with the changes that I have seen.

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Thank you!

I was wondering after looking at their class schedule online about the advanced classes and their format. Are there separate technique (in ballet shoes) and pointe classes or are they combined? My daughters currently have a combination of both types..... just curious :-)

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It depends. My DD is not currently an academy student. Her friends are and I understand that there are dedicated pointe classes for Adv 1 & 2 (I think on M and F) and the other levels start with technique shoes and do pointe for part of the class. The length depends upon the level.


For specific questions it would be best to contact the school director, Peter Christie. He is easy to talk to, will respond to email as well as phone calls and will answer any questions you have.


Let me know if I can help in any other way.

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I have some knowledge of this program. I do know that BW Academy changed dramatically just over a year ago, with the addition of Jan Fugit to the program. She is a gifted teacher with a strong belief in syllabus. I find it interesting that they are still not taking their own students into the company when a large number auditioned for BW2 this last audition period.


It is my belief that pointe class is only held once a week at the Wed class, other pointe work is done on Saturdays during variations and pas class. This I know is a disappointment to the students. In the advanced 2 level I know several lovely dancers who hopefully will be taken into the company. This is a program that seems to be in development with the new AD taking an interest in the school as a pathway to the company. He has implemented subtle changes with the beginning of this school year. Only time will tell if eventually more than one student actually gains employment in the company and the school begins to mentor its students.

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My DD is in the Adv 1 class. That level has pointe during Monday and Friday technique classes, starting after rond de jambe, and on Wednesday the entire technique class is en pointe. In addition, the Adv 1 students are strongly encouraged to (and most do) take a lower level technique class on Friday entirely en pointe (after their regular class). Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday technique classes are entirely in flat shoes. On Saturday pas de deux is en pointe, and repertoire may be en pointe depending on which piece is being rehearsed.

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I am currently a student with Ballet West Academy, and have been for some time so I have seen the changes that have been happening first hand. I'd be happy to answer any questions

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  • 3 months later...

I'm a student in Advanced 1 at Ballet West Academy.

The quality of training at this school, I feel, has improved a great amount in the past two years.

The staff is excellent, with all teachers teaching great classes and being very encouraging. Since Ballet West has gotten a new Artistic Director, the changes have been good for maintaining a higher quality school.

As for the pointe work, the only days we're not on pointe are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the Saturday technique classes (all of these days are taught by male teachers). Although we are doing our Repertoire fully on pointe now.

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  • 9 months later...

Ballet West Academy students performed in the company's annual Gala last Saturday and received wonderful accolades in today's newspaper review


"Défile" was choreographed by academy education director Peter Christie and featured 150 students. It was an appropriate piece that moved along quickly, highlighting students at various levels of study looking well rehearsed and happy to be performing. Older students mentored young ones on and off the stage, offering the feel of a school where learning is taking place for all. A sign of health for any dance school was the strong showing of a half-dozen very competent boys.


My DD thoroughly enjoyed being part of this experience. Having the opportunity to perform with the company as a student (both in the annual Gala as well as other productions) is one of the benefits she really appreciates.


We also loved watching Ballet West II perform a world premiere that was a very challenging and wonderful piece. Dane Arbogast of Ballet West II is a Ballet West Academy graduate.

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Interesting thread... Let me respond to the Ballet West Academy aspects. The Academy has a caring, nurturing and yet demanding approach to its approach to teaching. The “care and attention” that you say “just isn’t possible” in an organization the size of Ballet West Academy is provided by that same Academy. Dancers will always look for a teacher that clicks with them and SLBC may be the place for certain students. The Ballet West Academy students are passionate about their training and are fortunate to be working with a school that has a very close connection with the Ballet West Company. Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute, Ballet West II Director Mark Goldweber, Principal Ballet Mistress Pamela Robinson, and Ballet Master Bruce Caldwell have a huge presence within the school which provides a unique opportunity.

The mandate from this present artistic administration is for the Academy to train dancers ready to be accepted into Ballet West II and other professional engagements. Ballet West and its Academy is providing every opportunity for these young dancers to do so.

The Ballet West Academy has produced many fine dancers that have gone onto professional careers with Ballet West and other professional companies, some to great acclaim… Rachel Viselli (current Principal Dancer for San Francisco Ballet), Megan Fairchild (current principal dancer with New York City Ballet), Jacquel Andrews (Soloist with Houston Ballet), Seth Olson, (former Principal Dancer Ballet West) to name a few. The corps of Ballet West has been filled with many students who have benefitted from the training they received through the school. Ballet West has hired 7 dancers from Ballet West II (designed to be a stepping stone from pre-professional training into the company) over the last 4 years alone. Dane Arbogast, a new Ballet West II member this year, grew up in the Ballet West Academy and 3 Advanced Level Academy dancers have been invited to participate in Ballet West II classes and rehearsals.

What Ballet West Academy has accomplished in the past (even the recent past) is exactly that, “in the past”. There is the old adage: “you’re only as good as your last performance”. The Academy has made a lot of changes over the past several years, assessing and adapting to provide the best training to fit in with this newest artistic direction Ballet West is heading in. The present administration is intent in providing the guidance and training necessary to give the finest instruction to all students. Whether it be the recreational dancer or the dancer intent on pursuing a professional career, due diligence is given to deliver the most positive experience and training possible. There are many fine schools throughout this region…what is most important for the training of a dancer is to find the one that provides you with excellent training and teaching personalities that support your dancer’s process of learning the best. It is important to check the competition out… and see what’s out there. A healthy school can shine in that examination.

Edited by TenduTeacher
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As a parent of students at BWA I thoroughly agree with TenduTeacher. Our family relocated to Salt Lake City 7 months ago and an integral factor in our move was Ballet West and the Academy. We were well aware that our daughters' training before the move was inadequate, whether they were recreational or pre-professional.


BWA provides incredible training, an amazing faculty that is not only nurturing but also demanding in challenging the students to push themselves. I have never seen my daughters happier than they have been the last several months. BWA deserves credit not only for training the dancers bodies and minds, but also for allowing them to be individuals.


We left a so-called pre-pro school that was no longer offering training worth paying or sweating for, but also had an environment based on intimidation, fear, reprisal and lack of respect for the students, parents, teachers, and the professional company members.


I'm sure TenduTeacher will know exactly who I am as I first embarked on researching the academy via this website. Thank you "TenduTeacher" as you welcomed my daughters with open arms and they happily embrace every challenge you place before them :D

Edited by 2much22
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  • 4 years later...
  • 1 month later...

hello slhogan...

Ballet West Academy has several students enrolled in the Professional Traing program that are from "out of town". Those students still currently in high school usually participate in an "online" high school option. If you contact them directly either by phone or email, I'm sure they would respond quickly and be able to provide you with much more insight to discover how they could assist you in answering your questions.

Best of luck!

Edited by TenduTeacher
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Thanks, TenduTeacher. My DS will be attending 8 weeks this summer at the invitation of Mr. Jeff Rogers. I know for many programs, the summer acts as an extended audition for the year-round program, and I was mainly just wondering if this was the case for BW and, if so, what was in place to accommodate these out-of-towners.

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  • 2 months later...

Does anyone know how the summer levels correspond with the year-round levels? The SI has only 4 levels (perhaps five, if you count 1A and 1B as two different levels). However, the year-round program appears to have much more levels than 4. Is there anyway to figure out a rough correspondence? My DS14 is level 3 this summer, and I wondered what level he might be if he was with BW year round.

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