Ballet West Names Nicolo Fonte Resident Choreographer

By: Jul. 09, 2012

Adam Sklute, Artistic Director of Ballet West, today announced Nicolo Fonte's appointment to the post of Resident Choreographer for Ballet West, beginning with the Company's 2012-13 season.

"Nicolo's work is exciting, powerful, and thought provoking," said Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. "His choreography is also a natural fit for my Ballet West dancers.  It was clear from the first time Nicolo worked with us that his use of line and torso, his musicality and stylistic quality melded perfectly with our company.  My dancers adore working with him and I am excited to see what this close relationship will produce."

Fonte's initial collaboration with Ballet West took place during its 2008-09 season when the Company commissioned Fonte to create a new work for its Innovations 2009 Program. Titled "The Immeasurable Cadences Within" and set to a score by Philip Glass, dance critics hailed the piece as "visually stunning" and "unsparingly meaty".  For Ballet West's 2010-11 season, the Company performed Fonte's pulsating "Bolero," set to the music of Maurice Ravel, which critics lauded as "climactic, jaw-dropping and so much fun to watch."  

Referring to his new appointment, Fonte said: "I am thrilled and honored to be given this opportunity to deepen my relationship with Ballet West, a company I truly admire and respect.  Every time I have worked with the company in the past has been intensely rewarding, and I look forward to many more choreographic adventures in Salt Lake City! "

While Ballet West has invited many choreographers to create on the Company in its nearly 50-year history, Fonte will be the second-only choreographer to hold the title of Resident Choreographer; Val Caniparoli served in this position from 1994 to 1997.

"Nicolo will continue his choreographic career around the world and travel to Salt Lake as needed, "said Sklute. "He is scheduled to produce no fewer than three works for Ballet West within a four-year period of time, and he and I are already discussing a couple of major collaborations which I think will be electrifying."

Known for his daring and original approach to dance, Fonte's work has been noted by critics for a unique movement language as well as a highly developed fusion of ideas, dance and design. Born in Brooklyn New York, Fonte started dancing at the age of 14. He studied at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York as well as at the San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet Schools while completing a Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts at SUNY Purchase. Upon graduation he danced with Peridance in NYC and later joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal.  Fonte subsequently joined Duato's Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid and forged a strong identity in the Spanish company for seven years - for both his dancing and his choreography. En los Segundos Ocultos, (In Hidden Seconds), one of three ballets Fonte made for the Spanish company, was hailed as a breakthrough work of great impact with the poetic vision of a mature artist and indeed this ballet established his presence on the European dance scene.

In 2000 Fonte retired from performing to devote himself full-time to his choreographic career. Since that time he has created or staged his ballets for ballet companies all over the world.

Fonte received a Choo San Goh award for his 2002 collaboration with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Almost Tango, a work which was also voted as one of Dance Europe's "Best Premiere's when it was re-staged for The Australian Ballet in 2004. His subsequent creation for the company, The Possibility Space, premiered in Melbourne in September of 2008.

From 2002 to 2006 Nicolo enjoyed an ongoing creative partnership with The Göteborg Ballet in Sweden, creating and staging numerous works that helped establish the company's distinct profile. While in Göteborg he created his first full-length ballet, Re: Tchaikovsky, based on the life of Tchaikovsky, which was widely acclaimed in the international press and appeared on the "Best of 2005" lists of both Ballett-Tanz and Dance Europe. Fonte has also created seven highly successful works for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Their 2010 production of In Hidden Seconds received outstanding critical reviews on their tours all over the US. The February 2011 premiere ofWhere We Left Off has also proven to be a popular addition to their repertory.

Fonte consistently collaborates with the most dynamic companies on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2010, he created Made Man for Royal Ballet of Flanders, followed by the reimagining of the Ballets Russes classic,Petrouchka, for Oregon Ballet Theatre in October 2011.  Petrouchka - premiered by OBT in October of 2011 - was hailed for its gripping story, expressive style and the lasting impression it makes. This Petrouchka was staged for the Perm Ballet (Russia) in May of 2012 as part of the prestigious Diaghilev Seasons Festival. Also in May of 2012, Fonte premiered See(k), a new work for Houston Ballet to a commissioned score by Anna Clyne. 

2012-13 Season Tickets On Sale Now
Ballet West opens its electric 2012-13 season in Fall 2012 with a dramatic world premiere by Val Caniparoli –The Lottery, based on one of the most famous short stories in American literature by Shirley Jackson. Commissioned on and for the Artists of Ballet West, The Lottery is a powerful and compelling new work, set to a commissioned score by Robert Moran. This exciting triple-bill also includes the return of Nicolo Fonte's heart pounding audience favorite, Bolero, to music by Maurice Ravel.  Opening the program is the revival and reworking of Helen Pickett's critically acclaimed But Never Doubt I Love, set to music by Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Liszt