Utah dancers, it's time to slip on your blue suede shoes. Cirque du Soleil, the international performance/circus troupe that has become known for its spectacular-sized productions such as "O" and "Mystère," is designing a new show around the music of Elvis Presley for next year. And renowned Utah choreographer Bonnie Story has been tapped to develop the show's dancing.
Consequently, Salt Lake City is one of four cities that will hold auditions for the show, which plans to hire at least two dozen dancers. Story was hired by theater, film and video choreographer/director Vincent Paterson, who is directing the Elvis show. She has known Paterson for some 20 years, since working as his assistant. "I just know his work, and I know his mind and his way, and he just trusts me," the choreographer said. "We're always on the same page. It¹s like we came from the same school. He¹ll throw out an idea or I¹ll say something, and it will not just be out of left field for him."
Story won an Emmy for her choreography for "High School Musical," and designed the dance sequences of other movies, including the "HSM" sequels and "The American Mall." Details about the production have been tightly held. The show, which will feature Elvis' music in much the same way The Beatles were featured in the Cirque show "Love," is scheduled to premiere in November 2009 at the new CityCenter Resort-Casino in Las Vegas.
"The creative combination of live musicians and singers, projections, dance and the latest in multimedia sound and lighting technology are stimulating and aim at offering an emotional bond with the audience," according to a statement by CKX Inc., the entertainment company producing the show. "The show will bring Elvis back to Las Vegas for millions of his existing fans and create a buzz that will enable the persona of Elvis to reach untold numbers of new fans."
Holding Utah tryouts alongside auditions in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas is an acknowledgment of the state's growing reputation for talented dancers from the "HSM" movies and reality TV shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing With the Stars."
"I told Cirque, 'If you guys want to see some major talent, come to Salt Lake,' Story said. "The kids are dedicated. Kids from Utah will want to be in it. They're incredibly trained. Utah is getting such a great reputation now. And it wasn¹t hard. They kind of just trusted me."
In fact, Paterson was in town earlier this month for a workshop with Story for the show, "and he offered five contracts on the spot after we got through," she said.
Story said she's looking for "advanced, very versatile, athletic" dancers for the production, which will offer performers a two-year contract.
"It's a show that people from Utah can be very proud to be in ," she said. "It will be a family show. Whoever comes, they do need to be ready for a very technical audition."