Thirty-eight candidates were considered in the eight-month search; Skute was unanimously approved by the board.
"William Christensen and his brothers have the unique distinction of founding the first ballet company in America — The San Francisco Ballet," noted Sklute. "Robert Joffrey was born in Seattle and had his own distinctive vision of American dance which he brought to the heartland. I believe that American ballet begins in the west. I am humbled and honored to bring these two great legacies together in Salt Lake City where Willam Christensen created this remarkable company — Ballet West."
Sklute was one of the last dancers handpicked by Robert Joffrey, founder of the Joffrey Ballet. After dancing professionally for the Joffrey for 11 years, Sklute was selected in 1995 by Gerald Arpino to be assistant ballet master and was promoted to ballet master/artistic coordinator in 1998. He became associate artistic director in 2005.
As a dancer, Sklute has performed leading roles in ballets by Gerald Arpino, Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Robert Joffrey, Jirí Kylian, James Kudelka and Paul Taylor; he has also performed with New York's Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet and California's Oakland Ballet.