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BYU Theatre Ballet combines "West Side Story," "Romeo and Juliet" for concerts March 5-7

More than 20 years ago, Brigham Young University Theatre Ballet paired two of the world’s timeless love stories, “Romeo and Juliet” and “West Side Story,” for a series of concerts that still rank as the ensemble’s all-time audience favorite.

The BYU ballet troupe hopes to repeat that artistic experience with a new generation of dancers during this year’s “Ballet in Concert” Thursday through Saturday, March 5-7, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, with a 2:30 p.m. Saturday matinee.

Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at the Fine Arts Ticket Office, by calling 801 422-4322 or online at

“Janalyn Memmott's jazz-styled choreography brings Leonard Bernstein’s music to life in ‘West Side Story’ as it sizzles and pops," said Lynne Thompson of the BYU ballet faculty. "Clashing swords, Prokofiev’s majestic music and classical choreography by BYU Theatre Ballet director Shani Robison makes this one-hour version of Shakespeare's tale an absolute ‘must see.’”

”In addition, the production is enhanced with new sets and media projections by Benjamin Sanders of the BYU dance production staff that take you from the 1950s in New York to mid-16th-century Italy in a matter of minutes,” she said.

“Add 12 male guest dancers with their collective experience in modern, ballroom and musical theater breathing energy and excitement into the fight scenes set by fencing choreographer Brannon Killgo, coupled with Marsha Russell's elegant costume designs of the Italian Court that contrast with the bold, splashy colors used in ‘West Side Story’ and you've got the potential for a world-class performance,” said Thompson.

Cerissa Urry and Whitney Jackson paired with Trevor Brackney will capture hearts dancing the lead roles in “West Side Story.” The star-crossed lovers in “Romeo and Juliet” will be performed by guest artist and former BYU Theatre Ballet dancer Addison Larsen, who will be partnering Alexandra Hall and Megan Olson.

Top dancers from BYU’s ballet program will dance the supporting and chorus roles.

For more information, contact Shani Robison, artistic director, (801) 422-4748 or 796-9777; Lynne Thompson, publicity director, (801) 422-1830 or 225-1775; or Sandra Allen, ballet division administrator, (801) 422-4489.

Writer: Lynne Thompson

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