The University of Arizona's School of Dance was recently awarded the right to produce "Tarantella," a ballet created by the renowned 20th century choreographer, George Balanchine.

Balanchine's professional trajectory, and his involvement as the co-founder of the New York City Ballet earned him the title of "the father of the American ballet."

For the UA to have been allowed to present one of his ballets is an honor, said Edward Villella, legendary dancer and the director of the school's production of "Tarantella."

Balanchine passed away in 1983, but his works are still very much alive, and in the hands of The George Balanchine Trust, which is a group established in 1987, aiming to preserve and protect the artists' ballets. They're also in charge of granting or denying entities the licensing to produce Balanchine's pieces.

"For the (Balanchine) Trust to allow the UA to use their students (for this ballet), when normally it provides it (only) for highly sophisticated professionals...is a wonderful statement...saying...this is a school that can articulate the highest level of the internal understanding of these works," Villella said. "It is so valuable what the School of Dance is doing here. It is just terrific."

Inspired by the music piece "Grande Tarantelle" of circa mid 1800s, "Tarantella" was choreographed by Balanchine, and first presented by the NYC Ballet in 1964.

"Tarantella" is presented by UApresents and the UA School of Dance as the centerpiece for the school's Premium Blend dance concert at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre every Thursdays through Saturdays until Nov. 3. For more information call 621-1162.