Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre in ‘REVEL’

Utah's Repertory Dance TheatreThis weekend, Repertory Dance Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Season continues with live music, merrymaking and revelry. This Salt Lake City-based dance company presents REVEL at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, featuring works by Jacque Lynn Bell, William “Bill” Evans, Joanie Smith and Claire Porter. 


Jacque Lynn Bell’s work She will honor the memory and inspiration of Virginia Tanner. “Miss Virginia” founded the Children’s Dance Theatre in the 1940’s and was instrumental in the founding of Repertory Dance Theatre in 1966. Tanner was recognized internationally for developing a methodology to encourage young dancers to explore movement by engaging their senses, trusting their instincts and using their imaginations. 


Bell’s choreography features dancers ranging from age 3 to age 75, including Tanner Dance students, RDT dancers and the RDT alumni dancers who were nurtured in the Children’s Dance Theatre. These dancers include current Executive/Artistic Director (and Founder) Linda C. Smith, Artistic Associate Nicholas Cendese, Chara Huckins Malaret, Mimi Silverstein and Christine Ollerton. 


The next work, Crippled Up Blues…and other tales of Deseret, brings together William “Bill” Evans and Emmy-award winning musician/folklorist/composer Hal Cannon. Evans was a dancer and major choreographer with RDT from 1967-1974 and has had an ongoing relationship with the company for several decades. He has created 18 works for RDT, served as a guest performer and teacher, and also serves on the RDT national advisory board. Cannon and Evans both grew up in Utah and share memories and pride in their pioneer heritage. 


Hal Cannon, Greg Istock and Eli Wrankle, collectively known as 3HATTRIO, will perform live on stage during Evans’ choreography. 


Jack by Joanie Smith of Shapiro & Smith Dance Company creates a new spin on classic nursery rhymes. Caroline Palmer from the Minneapolis Star Tribune describes the piece as “not so cheery, with hilarious results.”


Finally, a world-premiere commission by comedic performer and choreographer Claire Porter will round out the show. Known for her poignant, comedic work mixing language and movement, Porter has created Begging the Question, a piece that asks some of life’s biggest (and smallest) questions. This premiere involves dancers speaking (and dancing).


For 50 years, RDT has pushed the boundaries of modern dance, while preserving and celebrating its legacy. Today, the ensemble is just as revolutionary as it was in 1966 and its thrilled to present three new commissions in this lively, pre-holiday show. 


REVEL will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on November 19-21. Tickets are $15-30 through ArtTix.


Photo courtesy of Repertory Dance Theatre.