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‘La Sylphide’ tight, dazzling

SHARE ‘La Sylphide’ tight, dazzling

BALLET WEST, "La Sylphide," at the Capitol Theatre on Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.; additional performances Sept. 22, 26-29, 7:30 p.m., with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29. Tickets available through ArtTix at 355-ARTS.

Be true to your betrothed and be nice to elderly ladies.

That's the moral of Peter Schaufuss' "La Sylphide." And it's safe to say Ballet West took the production to new heights last night during a rousing season opener.

Jessica Harston swallowed the butterflies as the delicate and sometimes mischievous Sylph. Her smile and grace captivated the audience as she appeared to float across the stage.

Tong Wang's James was as boyish and confused as any man on his wedding day, but it was his fascination with the Sylph that became his undoing. His dancing was tight and visually bold as he tacked Schaufuss' interpretation of the difficult Bournonville Ballet style.

But those two weren't the only ones on which the story focused. There was James' betrothed, Effie, danced nimbly by Tonia Stefiuk, and Ren Daveluy took on the role of James' friend Gurn, who, by default and faithfulness, ended up with Effie.

All the main characters lost themselves in their roles. And then there was Ballet West artistic director Jonas Kge, who brought the witch Madge (James' adversary) to wonderfully animated life.

Even the corps and the children took on a tightness during the group variations that dazzled the eye. There was that much movement on stage.

Wind those around the storybook scenes and costumes by David Walker and the beautiful Tchaikovsky score performed by the Utah Chamber Orchestra, with Terence Kern conducting, and you've got one powerful ballet.

E-mail: scott@desnews.com