Christoper Sellars Named New Interim Director of Ballet West II

Christoper Sellars Named New Interim Director of Ballet West II

Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute today announced the appointment of Ballet West First Soloist Christopher Sellars as its new Interim Director of Ballet West II. Sellars will take the reins in this additional capacity on August 5 for the 2013-14 season. He succeeds Principal Artist Christopher Ruud, who is stepping aside to focus exclusively on his dancing and choreography.

"It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to work with these young dancers," said Ruud. "I hope that they have learned as much from me as I have learned from them. At this point in my career, I feel it's important for me to concentrate on my choreography and on improving my own career as a dancer."

Sellars becomes the fourth director of Ballet West II. Formed in 2005, Ballet West II was initially led by Academy Director Peter Christie. In 2007, former Joffrey dancer Mark Goldweber assumed the role, serving as both Ballet Master for Ballet West and Director of Ballet West II. Goldweber passed away in December 2011.

"After Mark's passing, Christopher Ruud stepped in to run Ballet West II," said Sklute. "Christopher did an exceptional job, but he and I agreed that at this time in his career he needed to focus more on his dancing and his fast-growing choreographic endeavors. Chris Ruud will stay involved with Ballet West II when his busy schedule allows, and I am proud to hand the Ballet West II reins over to Christopher Sellars."

An inaugural member of Ballet West II, Sellars joined the main company in 2006 before being promoted to Demi-Soloist in 2008, followed by Soloist in 2010. Sellars was promoted to First Soloist for Ballet West's upcoming 2013-14 season.

"I am humbled to join ranks with the likes of Mark Goldweber and Chris Ruud, both of whom I hold in the highest regard," said Sellars. "Having begun my career as a member of Ballet West II myself, I know how exciting and terrifying it can be to come to a large, professional company at a young age. I hope to draw from my own experiences over the years to make a difference in their professional lives and to build upon the exceptional leadership that has come before me."

Ballet West II has established a reputation of its own as an elite touring ensemble, with the versatility to perform a broad spectrum of dance in venues of all sizes across the country. Under the direction of Ballet West First Soloist Christopher Sellars, these future stars of Ballet West present both classical and modern ballet with youth, freshness, and spontaneity. Ballet West II tours annually throughout the state of Utah and serves an active role in the development of premieres by new and established choreographers - works that are then performed during Ballet West's annual showcase, INNOVATIONS. Ballet West II recently has appeared on tour to cities across the U.S., including Texas, Colorado and Iowa.