Adam Sklute was named Artistic Director of Ballet West in March of 2007. Prior to that time, he was with The Joffrey Ballet for nearly 25 years. Beginning as a dancer under Robert Joffrey in the 1980’s, Sklute was one of the last two artists Joffrey personally chose for his company. In 1995, when The Joffrey Ballet moved to Chicago, Gerald Arpino, then the company’s Artistic Director, asked Sklute to become Schedule Coordinator and Assistant Ballet Master and in 1998 appointed him to the position of Ballet Master/Artistic Coordinator. Sklute was appointed Co-Assistant Artistic Director in 2004 and then Associate Artistic Director in 2005.
Since joining Ballet West, Sklute is credited with bringing a vibrant and contemporary energy to the company while respecting and maintaining it’s established and honored classical heritage. He has overseen the presentation of Ballet West’s first ever choreography by Twyla Tharp and has introduced Ballet West to such renowned contemporary choreographers as Ulysses Dove, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris and Stanton Welch all while expanding its repertoire by George Balanchine and Michael Smuin. Sklute has further enhanced Ballet West’s treasure trove of ballets with masterpieces from the Ballets Russes by such icons as Michel Fokine and Bronislava Nijinska and has reintroduced lost elements of Willam Christensen’s beloved production of The Nutcracker. Most notably, Sklute, with an eye to the future, developed Ballet West’s wildly successful, first ever Innovations program. Innovations is designed to nurture and present new Utah local, national, and international choreographers, designers, musicians and artists. Sklute has also taken an active part in overseeing Ballet West’s Academy, teaching regularly and developing and focusing its syllabus with the academy faculty.
A passionate speaker on dance, Sklute created Ballet West’s Viewpoint panel discussion series and speaks regularly at the company’s Director’s Pointe program, as well as throughout Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah. He has lectured at the Chicago Art Institute and built and oversaw the Joffrey Circle’s and subscriber lectures and panel discussions. Sklute sits on Utah’s Salt Lake County Cultural Facilities Master Plan Advisory Board for performing arts venues of Salt Lake County and has served on the board of Chicago’sDance for Life. A judge for the international ballet competition the Youth America Grand Prix, Sklute is also a guest teacher and coach for dance programs and workshops nationwide, including The University of Cincinnati, The University of Iowa, The Joffrey Ballet School in New York, The Joffrey Workshop Texas in San Antonio, and Utah Regional Ballet. Sklute is an adjunct professor of dance at the University of Utah. In 2007, he was listed as one of the 25 Movers and Shakers of the Utah Arts Scene.
A native of Berkeley, California, Sklute did not begin dancing until the age of 15. His early training was at the Oakland Ballet and San Francisco Ballet schools. After only two years of formal study, he was discovered by Robert Joffrey and joined The Joffrey II Dancers (The Joffrey’s apprentice company). Two years later was asked to join The Joffrey Ballet.
Sklute has danced leading roles in numerous ballets by such choreographers as Gerald Arpino, Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Agnes DeMille, Robert Joffrey, Jiri Kylian, James Kudelka, Leonide Massine, Jerome Robbins, and Paul Taylor. He has also performed with New York’s Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Dallas Metropolitan Ballet and California’s Diablo Ballet. Sklute’s television credits include The Joffrey Ballet’s Dance in America filmings of Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps and Gerald Arpino’s production of Billboards, the role of The Old Soldier in WTTW’s filming of Kurt Jooss’s The Green Table and Herr Drosselmeyer in the WTTW one-hour special of Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker. In 2003 he assisted with and appeared in Robert Altman’s feature film The Company, based on The Joffrey Ballet.