Arts Legend Awards

Ballet West Guild’s

Arts Legend Awards



Ballet West Guild’s Arts Legend Award was established through a grass-roots level desire to recognize individuals from our local Ballet and greater Utah Arts community who have played a particularly active, lengthy, and dedicated role as an artist, producer, administrator, patron or advocate for the Arts.

An ‘audience and community award’ of sorts, the Guild’s Arts Legend Award is an opportunity to articulate and express a deep appreciation from our membership that might not otherwise be deliberately or sufficiently conveyed to the selected recipients.

The Guild’s Arts Legend Award is presented annually to 2-3 individuals, thoughtfully nominated and selected by Ballet West Guild’s Leadership Council.


2023 Award Recipients


Bené Arnold

Former Ballet Mistress, Ballet West

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Utah, Department of Ballet

In 1963, Bené was asked by Willam F. Christensen to be the ballet mistress for the future company, Ballet West. She served in this capacity until 1975 when she joined the University of Utah Department of Ballet faculty. She continued to perform as a guest artist in various character roles with Ballet West. And she continued for many years as the Children’s Ballet Mistress for Ballet West’s The Nutcracker.

Bené received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the Department of Ballet, and her B.S. in elementary education and Masters of Education in special education (teaching the deaf as her specialty) from the University of Utah.

In 1984, Bené received a citation from the Utah State Senate recognizing her contribution through ballet to the state. In 1997, she received the Chamber of Commerce Award in the Arts and the Governor’s Award in the Arts. She served on the NEA dance panel in 2007. In 1998, Bené was the first woman and only faculty member from Fine Arts and Humanities to be named Distinguished Professor. In 2001, Bené received recognition for her teaching as the KSL Teacher of the Month. When Bené retired from the University of Utah she was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Bené willingly answered the call when asked to return to the University of Utah in 2008 to serve as Interim Chair of the Department of Ballet.

Bené Arnold is a tour de force in the world of ballet and has influenced generations of young dancers with supreme discipline and artistry. To Bené, we send our endless love and ovation.


Sharee Lane

Former Soloist and Staff Member, Ballet West
Former School Director, Ballet West Conservatory
Faculty Emeritus, University of Utah College of Dance

Sharee Lane was a soloist dancer and staff member with Ballet West. She served as Director of Ballet West Conservatory from 1989 to 1999 under Ballet West Artistic Directors, John Hart CBE and Jonas Kåge.

Sharee trained many notable artists including Megan Fairchild who is now a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Robbie Fairchild who is a former principal dancer of New York City Ballet, and Kenna Draxton who is a former principal dancer with Arizona Ballet and whom Sharee took to the 1998 Prix de Lausanne where she placed as a semi-finalist representing Ballet West Conservatory.

Sharee served as an Associate Professor at the University of Utah where she taught ballet technique and advanced principles of teaching. She co-directed and choreographed for the Department’s Performing Dance Company. Five of her students became company members of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet company under the direction of Artistic Director Tom Mossbrucker and Executive Director Jean-Philippe Malaty. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet continues to engage Ballet West trainees as guest artists for their “Nutcracker” productions in Aspen and Santa Fe with the cooperation and encouragement of Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. After 22 years with the University of Utah Department of Ballet, Sharee had her tenured line transferred to the Department of Modern Dance for the next 7 years until her retirement in June 2017.

Sharee Lane, and colleague Professor Olaf Hoefer, conducted a successful cultural exchange program between the University of Utah’s Department of Dance, the Berlin State Ballet School and Ballet West Conservatory, for students, teachers, and musicians. The cultural exchange program began in 1992 with Col. Gail Halvorsen (the infamous Candy Bomber of the Berlin Airlift) being instrumental in the liaison between BSBS Director Martin Puttke, Ballet West Artistic Director John Hart CBE, and Sharee Lane as Director of Ballet West Conservatory. This program has endured with the support of Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. Of note, Ballet West artist Victoria Vassos participated in this exchange program.

Sharee’s choreographies have been performed for the Berlin State Ballet School in Germany, and the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music. She has choreographed for Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) and she serves on their Board of Advisors.

Sharee Lane has been a recipient of three Thomas D. Dee Grants, and in 2006, she received the prestigious Philip and Miriam Perlman Award for Excellence in Student Counseling and Advising. Nominated for the College of Fine Arts Scholars Program, Sharee presented her research “Through the Looking Glass: Examining the Impact of Mirrors in Technical and Artistic Development in Female College Ballet Dancers” for the Corps de Ballet International Conference at Western Michigan University and the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities.

Sharee has been an adjudicator for the Montana Dance Arts Association and for Music-Fest in Spokane, Washington, and a frequent guest teacher for the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Ballet West. Sharee Lane has developed multiple pathways of excellence for young artists to grow and is a wealth of knowledge and experience in our dance community.


Julie & Aharon Shulimson

This husband and wife team are extremely devoted patrons of Ballet West, community advocates and volunteers, and Guild leadership members

Julie & Aharon are decades-long patrons of Ballet West and members of Ballet West Guild, having served in many various roles over the years. Julie served as President of Ballet West Guild in the 1990s. Aharon began studying ballet and taking class in 2008 and takes two or three adult classes each week at Ballet West Academy.

Together, Julie & Aharon ran Sugar Plum Parties for 15 years on behalf of Ballet West Guild; plus another 10 more years as volunteers while the Guild was on hiatus. They produce an annual holiday thank-you lunch for the backstage crew during the month-long run of The Nutcracker and they host a Ballet West dancer in their home. Julie & Aharon typically attend most or all performances of each ballet production and on performance nights you most likely will be greeted by them in the lobby of Capitol Theatre. In 2017, Ballet West recognized Julie & Aharon on Utah Philanthropy Day for their many years of extraordinary volunteerism.

Julie & Aharon also volunteer with the Days of ’47 Parade and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run. They work full time in Aharon’s psychology private practice and have done extensive research on the brain wave activity of Ballet West dancers. Aharon presented their research “This is Your Brain on Ballet” at the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback Conference in 2017 and the work has been featured in several publications including and


2022 Award Recipients


Pamela Robinson Harris

Principal Rehearsal Director, Ballet West

Choreographer, Ballet West

Former Principal Dancer, Ballet West

Pam Robinson has spent nearly 4 decades as an artist with Ballet West, first as a young dancer, perfecting her craft into elegant leading roles that many patrons very fondly recall to this day. Pam went on to become Ballet West’s Principal Ballet Mistress (as was the formal term in those days), giving company class, rehearsing and coaching dancers, working on the casting and staging of Ballet West’s major productions, and serving for a time as Interim Artistic Director. Along the way, Pam also developed her skills as a choreographer. She has collaborated with Artistic Director Adam Sklute to create original choreography for new versions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle. And since its inception in 2011, Pam has choreographed, scripted and arranged scores for the Family Classics Series. We will always beam along with the Brothers Grimm in the tale of Snow White; thrill with the delicate passion of Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty; and forever return to that enchanted lake, where a sorrowful sacrifice breaks an evil spell and the young maidens are restored, in Swan Lake. Pamela Robinson Harris has quietly guided the Artists of Ballet West and transported entire audiences over time to breathtaking new dimensions, and we are grateful.


Kathleen Gardner

Former Director of Development, Ballet West

Kathleen Harmon Gardner is one of Utah’s own, true-blue ‘Lover of the Arts.’ With a music background and strong ties throughout the community, Kathleen has devoted her life to development of the Arts and Humanities in Utah. This is true for Kathleen in both her professional career and in her personal time. Kathleen served as Director of Development for Ballet West throughout the 1990s and made it a point to personally know every patron. She also worked in development roles with Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, with Utah Humanities, and with Utah Symphony Utah Opera. Over many decades, Kathleen championed the role of development to the level of art form itself. But for Kathleen, working to sustain and promote the Arts in Utah was never just a job, it has always been, and still is, a true love.


Michael McCulloch

Production Stage Manager, Ballet West

Michael McCulloch has been an indispensable member of Ballet West’s production staff since the 1980s. Working beyond the spotlight, Michael ensures that all of Ballet West’s great art and talented artists shine sublimely for audiences. Michael’s immaculate attention to detail, his consistent willingness to go above and beyond doing whatever is needed to keep the company running smoothly, as well as his deep wisdom for the ‘big picture’ are invaluable assets, not only in production, but for the entire organization.


2021 Award Recipients


David Heuvel

Director of Costume Production Emeritus, Ballet West

David Heuvel continues to have an illustrious career in costume design and production that has taken him to every corner of the globe. Five decades ago, David started as an apprentice at the Opera Theatre in Pretoria, South Africa where he became director of the costume shop for PACT Ballet. In 1979, then-artistic director of Ballet West, Bruce Marks, invited David to head the fledgling company’s costume shop. Under Marks, David helped build the reputation of Ballet West from a regional ballet company to one with international stature. Ballet West’s costume shop is unparalleled, from cohesive designs with historical accuracy to the tactile ability to dye garments. David has also designed and built costumes for Ballet Du Nord, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Met, Singapore Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Caroline Ballet, Ballet Hawaii, Nashville Ballet and Ballet Memphis. In December 2018, David received Governor Gary Herbert’s prestigious Artist Award for Visual Arts. David Heuvel has given us decades of master artistry that has delighted audiences around the world and here at home.


Jóhann Jacobs

Arts Executive Emeritus

Former Executive Director, Ballet West

Jóhann Jacobs’ career in the arts spans more than 30 years. He was elected as Executive Director for Ballet West in 1997 when he brought fresh energy and world-class vision for Ballet West’s future. Jóhann served for more than 16 years, guiding the company with strategic planning, fundraising efforts, finance, and marketing. Jóhann helped establish the Oregon Ballet Theatre in 1989 as Chief Administrative Officer; he also worked as Financial Controller for Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and as Assistant Director of Salt Lake Arts Council. Jóhann was a founding member of the Aids Project Utah and received the Salute to Volunteers Award from the Volunteers of America, Utah Chapter in 1988. Other awards include the Portland General Electric’s Community Treasures Award for his management of Oregon Ballet Theatre in 1997. Following his retirement from Ballet West, Jóhann also fulfilled a very important and rewarding ‘encore’ career as Director of Development for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah.


(no 2020 Awards due to global pandemic/shutdown)


2019 Award Recipients


Bruce Caldwell

Rehearsal Director and Company Archivist, Ballet West

Former Principal Dancer, Ballet West

Bruce Caldwell is one of our very own local legends, having been with Ballet West from the very start. At the age of 10, Bruce was cast as the nephew in Willam F. Christensen’s The Nutcracker and he has been with Ballet West ever since. In 1971, Bruce became a Principal Dancer, and in 1991, he moved to the Artistic Staff as Rehearsal Director. Bruce also serves as Ballet West Archivist. More than fifty years, an entire lifetime, Bruce has devoted himself to Ballet West, to his art, and to our community. Bruce was awarded the Governor’s Excellence in the Arts Award and the Chamber of Commerce Artist of the Year Award.


Pam March

Owner, Every Blooming Thing

Ever wonder where the gorgeous ballerina bouquets come from on performance nights, year after year? Ever wonder why we as audience members are so fortunate to have wonderful, elaborate arrangements of fresh flowers to welcome us into the lobby of Capitol Theatre for every performance? They’re all from Pam March, founder and owner for over 40 years of Every Blooming Thing. Not only does Pam provide florals for Ballet West, she provides arrangements for virtually every Arts organization in the valley, including Utah Symphony Utah Opera, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, even Utah Festival Opera. Pam has also served on the Board of Directors for the latter two organizations. Pam works her floral magic for more than just arts organizations. Add to the list of her beneficiaries Primary Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, and KUER. Pam has also been a member of the Guild for many years.


Jeanne Potucek

Community Volunteer, Arts Patron

Jeanne Potucek is a lifelong dancer who joined Mr. C’s Ballet program at the University of Utah, graduated, and never stopped taking and giving class. Jeanne raised all of her four children with ballet training and each of them performed in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker over many years. Jeanne served on Ballet West’s Board of Directors for over 30 years and she served as President of Ballet West Guild, and in many other Guild roles. Jeanne has single handedly provided fruit and nutritious snacks to the dancers of Ballet West every single Saturday performance for over 20 years, even for the 11 years that the Guild was on hiatus. And for nearly 20 years, Jeanne has provided a safe and wonderful home for many young artists to live while they train with Ballet West, away from their own home and families. Jeanne is fondly known as ‘TuTu’ with her own following known as ‘TuTu-Nuts.’


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