Creating GREAT Dancers, One step at a time
The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy trains pure classical ballet with a uniquely American Syllabus developed by our Artistic Director Adam Sklute in conjunction with our world renowned faculty and artistic staff.
MASTER GUEST TEACHER SERIES CONTINUES WITH:
In her twelve year career at New York City Ballet, Michele Gifford performed many soloist and principal roles including George Balanchine’s Apollo, Rubies, Agon, and Stars and Stripes. She also originated many roles including Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, Christopher Wheeldon’s Slavonic Dances, and David Parsons’ Touch. In 2000, Michele joined Texas Ballet Theater under Ben Stevenson. She performed several principal roles, including Stevenson’s Coppelia, Four Last Songs, and Peer Gyntalong with Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante and The Four Temperaments. She continues to perform as a Principal guest artist. As a Balanchine Repetiteur, Michele has staged and coached several ballets including Who Cares?, Walpurgisnaught, Serenade, and Valse Fantiasie. She is a certified GYROTONIC instructor and owns her own studio, Studio G, in Fort Worth, TX.
FOUR ACADEMY LOCATIONS
About Ballet West Academy
| OUR MISSION | The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy, the official school of Ballet West is Utah’s premier source of dance training providing the highest caliber of ballet instruction to the pre-professional student as well as those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of this beautiful and demanding art form. Along with our unique relationship with the professional company and artistic staff of Ballet West, we have a superior faculty who are dedicated to developing and inspiring the whole child, both as an accomplished dancer and healthy individual. Academy students experience a structured curriculum offered in a nurturing and positive environment, targeting and exploring each student’s individual strengths and abilities.
| OUR VISION | The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy strives to be a dynamic leader in the international field of dance education. Drawing on our unique local dance heritage, and utilizing our connections with our national and international dance communities, we will continue to expand our educational offerings in a state of the art facility as we train and inspire the next generation of dancers. We intend to be a positive resource for local and regional dance schools, providing opportunities for constructive dialogues and collaborative support.
ADAM SKLUTE Artistic Director
Adam Sklute was named Artistic Director of Ballet West in 2007, and CEO and Artistic Director in 2016. Since 2o07, he has expanded Ballet West’s repertoire, visibility, and overall outlook with exciting company premieres; increased touring and public exposure and greater focus on Ballet West Academy.
In eight years Sklute has presented over fifty-five world/Utah premiers, twenty-three works of which were never before performed by Ballet West by such renowned historical choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Bronislava Nijinska, and Michel Fokine and contemporary masters Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, and Twyla Tharp to name a few. He has commissioned ten world premieres by leading choreographers of today such as Val Caniporoli, Nicolo Fonte, Matthew Neenan, and Helen Pickett. In 2012 Sklute named Nicolo Fonte Resident Choreographer for Ballet West. READ MORE +
PETER LEBRETON MERZ Academy Director
Peter LeBreton Merz was named academy director in 2015. He has committed to building on the tradition of excellence at the Academy, and is dedicated to raising the level of training to be on par with the best national and international ballet schools.
Merz brings over 20 years of experience as a dance educator and choreographer to his role as academy director. From 2004-2015, he served on the faculty of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. While there, he rose to the rank of Associate Professor, tenured, and led the ballet unit of the faculty for seven years. He taught courses in ballet technique, pointe, male enchainment, classical pas de deux, dance composition, theater stagecraft, and an academic class in “Arts and the Human Experience”.
Merz has served as a coach, choreographer and jury member for several ballet competitions, including the USA International Ballet Competition, the Korea International Ballet Competition, the American Dance Competition, and the Youth America Grand Prix. He was named Outstanding Teacher by the YAGP jury at the Pittsburgh regional in 2014, and has twice been named Outstanding Choreographer.