The Ballet Department at the University of Utah has a history of excellence dating from 1951. In this groundbreaking year, Willam F. Christensen — noted dancer, teacher, and founder of the San Francisco Ballet Company — returned to his native Utah and founded one of the first ballet programs in an American university. As faculty was developed and the curriculum grew, the excellence of this program served as the foundation for other university ballet programs.
Faculty and graduates of the University of Utah’s Ballet Department were fundamental in the formation and growth of Ballet West, Utah’s major professional ballet company. Through the excellence and professional success of our faculty, students, and alumni, the Department of Ballet continues to attract a cosmopolitan enrollment of students from all 50 states and abroad. Numerous alumni are currently dancing professionally or working as ballet instructors and administrators in colleges, universities and other educational and professional organizations throughout the world.
In 1989 the beautiful, contemporary and ideally functional facility, The Alice Sheets Marriott Center for Dance was built specifically for dance. From 1996 on, surveys of dance administrators have consistently ranked the University of Utah undergraduate programs in Ballet and Modern Dance in the top 10% across the nation. In the summer of 2009, another first in American ballet was developed when Ballet West and the University of Utah Department of Ballet joined together for a summer intensive training program.
The Department of Ballet is an educational training center that prepares majors for professional performing and teaching careers, and encourages creative and scholarly research in undergraduate students. A balanced and comprehensive curriculum created for the 100-plus professionally-oriented students leads to the BFA Degree with an emphasis in Performance, Character Dance, or Teaching. Each emphasis is fully supported with opportunities for performance and/or choreography through participation in the Pre-Professional Trainee Program with Ballet West, Utah Ballet, Character Dance Ensemble, Ballet Ensemble, Ballet Showcase, Senior Concert.
The University of Utah Ballet Department is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE® National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 8 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development. The ABT® National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels. The curriculum will be taught by ABT® Certified Teacher, Maggie Wright-Tesch, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.