October 1, 2011

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Curtain Call!

Sandy’s Renowned Art Scene Earns a Standing Ovation

Heather Beers

October 1, 2011

Most known for its popular annual production of The Nutcracker, each spring Mountain West Ballet also mounts a major production, such as this year’s Sleeping Beauty. Past seasons have included 12 Dancing Princesses, Frog Prince, Cinderella and Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Kate Johnson, Mountain West Ballet’s chief financial officer, says the goal of Mountain West Ballet is to provide high-level performance opportunities for aspiring dancers, as well as up-and-coming artistic directors and choreographers. The organization is also proud to foster an appreciation for classical ballet by delivering excellent production quality at an affordable price.

Johnson’s position, like the rest of the organization’s leadership, is volunteer. Her long-time dedication to Mountain West Ballet goes back seven years when, she began as a volunteer coordinator.

“When I first started, it was because my daughter, who was eight years old, was dancing. But then once you see these dancers get on the stage and you see the opportunities you’re giving them to perform with a semi-professional company—you just can’t go anywhere and get that! My daughter’s 15 now I’m still here because I feel passionate about preserving the arts and giving these opportunities to dancers,” she says.

To enable more dancers to participate, the shows are often double or even triple cast, with The Nutcracker’s largest cast coming in at 340 performers one year. Mountain West Ballet utilizes Sandy’s resources, with The Nutcracker performances on Mount Jordan Middle School’s stage, and spring productions at the Sandy Amphitheater.

Johnson says the dream is to someday have their own theater, but the nonprofit ballet company is content to continue its fundraising and growth at a steady pace. Last year, for example, Mountain West was able to invest in additional lighting and hire a lighting director for The Nutcracker. “I will tell you it has changed the show. The feel, the warmth, the things you can do with lighting are amazing. That’s a huge stride that we’ve been able to make,” she says.

So when you’re ready to be swept off your feet, head to a Mountain West Ballet performance in Sandy! For more information visit www.mountainwestballet.org.

Sweet Harmony: American West Symphony of Sandy
For those who appreciate classical music, the American West Symphony of Sandy’s distinctive season features 14 concerts each year. This year’s performances included a pleasing palette of notable composers: Brahms, Grieg, Haydn, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven.

The symphony treats its audiences to complex, invigorating harmonies at different venues throughout Sandy and the Salt Lake Valley, including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Libby Gardner Hall, the Assembly Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle and the Sandy Amphitheater.

Founded in 1988, American West is an all-volunteer organization with its performers living double-lives as doctors, attorneys, educators, high school students and more. The orchestra is led by conductor Joel Rosenburg. With a strong following and perennially good reviews from the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, American West enjoys an excellent reputation.

Find out more about the current season at www.americanwestsymphony.org.


Whether you’re a fan of Broadway musicals or you like to kick back to your favorite bands under the stars, be part of the arts action in Sandy. Here’s what to look forward to:

The Nutcracker - The annual Mountain West Ballet performance will enchant you with this timeless holiday classic. Performed at Mount Jordan Middle School, visit www.mountainwestballet.org for tickets and times.

Chamber Theater - In February, the Sandy Arts Guild stages a play or musical in the Sandy City Hall Council Chambers. Visit www.sandyarts.com for more information.

Interfaith Music Festival - In April/May, the Interfaith Music Festival will lift your spirits with performances from church choirs throughout Sandy. Visit www.sandyarts.com for more information.

Youth Theater Program - In May, support budding young actors in Sandy City’s Youth Theater program, featuring a junior version of your favorite musicals. www.sandyarts.com.

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