Shall We Dance

Dance Season

By Amy Brunvand

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Even if you aren’t wealthy enough to be in Ballet West’s “Mr. C’s Club” (donors of $5,000-$19,000) you can still be a patron of the arts by buying season tickets. Being a season subscriber automatically makes you a member of the fan club that keeps arts organizations afloat. You’ll often get perks like invitations to special events, buying extra tickets at a discount or being able to exchange tickets for no extra fee. But what I like most about season tickets is that they make an evening at the theater into a real social occasion—subscribe together with a friend and you’ll have an automatic date. Strike up a conversation with the people sitting next to you and chances are you’ll see them again next time. This could be the start of some beautiful friendships.

The fall dance season begins Sept 17-19 at Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company with a world premiere of Together Alone: Part 1 by the company’s new(ish) Artistic Director Daniel Charon (he’s doing a “Meet the Choreographer” program on December 10, in case you aren’t acquainted yet). The program also includes States Rendered, a collaboration between Doug Varone and University of Utah professor and screendance pioneer Ellen Bromberg. In January, I’m pleased to see Ririe-Woodbury continuing their collaboration with Albert del Saz to preserve and revive the dances of Alwin Nikolais. These astonishing multi-media productions are full of smoke-and-mirrors illusions and they inspired current companies like Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, Pilobolus and Momix. A family matinée is scheduled for January 30, so be sure to take the kids.

Speaking of kids, on September 12 aspiring young dancers will be auditioning for Ballet West’s annual Nutcracker. There are plenty of other Nutcrackers out there, but the Ballet West version is our very own Utah Nutcracker that has evolved over the years from the original choreography of Willam “Mr. C” Christensen. Prominent roles for children are part of what makes Mr. C’s version a unique community event; Mr. C’s version has a particularly luscious sugar plum fantasy world in the second act. For Valentine’s Day you can take your sweetheart to see Romeo and Juliet with its rich score by Sergei Prokofiev, and the annual children’s production, performed by the Ballet West II company in March/April promises fairytale magic with Beauty and the Beast.

Happy 50th Anniversary to Repertory Dance Theatre! RDT is dedicated to “the creation, performance, perpetuation and appreciation of modern dance,” and their longtime presence in our community means Salt Lake City has one of the most well-educated and sophisticated dance audiences in the country. The RDT show in October is called Ritual with pieces related to ceremonial memory, but I’m particularly looking forward to November and the show called Revel, which includes a world premier of “Crippled Up Blues” created by Bill Evans and musician/folklorist Hal Cannon. Revel also features a tribute to Virginia Tanner with dancers from Children’s Dance Theatre and RDT alumni, many of whom got their start at the Tanner Dance studio. RDT also offers season tickets for kids with the Ring Around the Rose series that begins on September 12 with Creativity in Action. Ring Around the Rose is a “wiggle-friendly” series that gives kids a taste of dance, music and theater performed by various local companies. Tickets at the door are only $5; a season subscription package is just $3.50/ticket.

If you like an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary dance you’ll be pleased to know that Odyssey Dance Theatre is offering season tickets this year, available through October 8. Super subscribers get a 20% discount on favorites like Thriller, ReduxNutCracker, Romeo+Juliet, Carmen and MJ (the music of Michael Jackson). Sweet Beast Dance Circus (formerly known as SB Dance) is also selling season tickets, though the program is constantly under development so you never know exactly what you are going to see until you actually see it. Subscribing to Sweet Beast takes the same leap of faith you take when you subscribe to your Community Supported Agriculture box—you’re not exactly sure what you’ll get but it’s bound to be something yummy. The 2015-16 season includes All Saints Salon in October, WTF! (Wine Theater Food), and a mysteriously intriguing New Creation.

You won’t need a ticket for the Mudson works-in-progress series from b because the shows are free. The first Mudson of the fall season takes place September 15 at the Wasatch Presbyterian Church (1626 S. 1700 E., SLC) and features works by Temria Airmet, Michael Crotty, Sarah Longoria, Kat Martinez and Emma Wilson. It’s a chance to see cutting-edge dance and to hobnob with other dancers and dance fans.

For another economical way to see some great dance programs don’t forget to add the University of Utah departments of Modern Dance and Ballet to your dance calendar. Some of these students are destined to be the fresh new faces in local professional companies. You’ll be able to say you saw them perform back when they were just getting started.


Amy Brunvand is a University of Utah librarian and a dance enthusiast.

This article was originally published on September 1, 2015.