Regulars and Shorts, Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance?

By Amy Brunvand

A new season of Dance: 2014-15 season preview
by Amy Brunvand

The chill of fall is in the air and it’s time to order your season tickets. I know that sounds like a big commitment, but you should do it anyway. When you buy season tickets, performing arts companies will love you because subscribers are the people willing to take a chance that whatever the company produces will be amazing and wonderful. Season ticket holders really get to know the character of the performers and the strengths of the company. Instead of just sitting in the audience watching, you gradually become part of a community. What’s more, when arts organizations apply for grants, the number of subscribers is a measure of community support. So even if you can’t afford to donate money, you can help your favorite company stay afloat just by enjoying an evening out. How cool is that?

Here are some highlights of the upcoming 2014-2015 dance season:

In October SB Dance is presenting a new Halloween show, though be warned: the content of Cannibal: A Love Story is for mature audiences only (Last year’s show, Of Meat and Marrow was terrific, but don’t even think about bringing little kids). Knowing SB Dance, the new show is bound to be irreverent, funny, and genuinely disturbing. You can buy tickets for an add-on Afterlife Afterparty backstage, which is chance for the whole community of performers and audience to mingle and decompress from the performance they just saw.

Ballet West: has a program of favorites for the upcoming season including Giselle (Nov); Swan Lake (Feb); Aladdin (April, Ballet West II); Almost Tango (April) and Innovations (May). I’m particularly delighted that Giselle is on the program because I have always loved the weirdness of the zombie-like willies. I have been reading up on willies lately and it turns out that they belong to a long European tradition of dancing female water spirits. The swan girls in Swan Lake are their soul sisters. So, it’s time to order Black Swan on Netflix to get in the spirit to appreciate the slightly sinister dancing goddesses of classical ballet. Aladdin, performed by the Ballet West II company, is sure to delight the kids, and Innovations always offers something new and wonderful.

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is opening the Fall Season with a program that includes Storm, a work by the new Artistic Director Daniel Charon so Salt Lake modern dance fans will get a chance to become better acquainted with him. The company is also offering a reprise of Tandy Beal’s Flabbergast (January) a family-friendly show full of circus magic. If you didn’t see it last year, don’t miss it this time. The dancers had to have special training in order to be able to safely perform the acrobatics. Definitely take the kids, and don’t worry if you have a big family because Ririe-Woodbury offers a family discount ticket that is a great deal . Check the website for details.

The Utah Symphony is also getting into the circus act with the Cirque de la Symphonie (Oct-Nov) featuring aerial dance and acrobatics choreographed to classical masterpieces. If you think classical music and circus is a doubtful combination, think of the manic energy of those old Bugs Bunny cartoons, or the hallucinogenic images in Fantasia (1940). I wouldn’t want every symphony to have a circus or a ballet going on because I love the intense focus you get listening to unadorned symphony music, but at the same time in the usual silence of Abravanel Hall, symphonic music often has a kind of repressed energy, and unless you are an absolute purist it can be a delight to watch that energy emerge in a dance performance for a change of pace.

Repertory Dance Theater is also doing a family-friendly show called Surprise Packages (November) which is an amusing exploration of the infinite possibilities of empty cardboard boxes (ask your cat or your six year old). My own kid also absolutely loves the annual fundraiser Charette (February) with its rollicking Iron Choreographer competition. She likes watching the dances being made, but it’s also an event with a wonderful sense of community as audience members mingle and talk dance. Reunion (April) is a kick-off for the 50-year anniversary celebration of the company (which is actually next season, but why not start early?) and it will feature revivals of pieces choreographed by alumni RDT dancers, including current Artistic/Executive Director Linda Smith, Bill Evans, and Kay Clark, names that will trigger nostalgia in anyone old enough to remember Salt Lake’s dance history.

While we are waiting for our new Broadway-style theatre to open on Main Street, Broadway Across America is still performing at the Capitol Theatre and although they are not a local company, you might still want to check out season tickets because the much anticipated Book of Mormon Musical (July-August) is on the program.

Speaking of traveling shows, the Ballets Trokadero de Monte Carlo is performing at Kingsbury Hall in February. This all-male ballet company offers a hilarious spoof of classical ballet by real dancers. They are making fun of ballet because they love ballet. Their publicity photo, which shows male ballerinas dressed as zombie willies in white tutus, makes me laugh just to look at it.

This is just a small sample of what’s coming. Aren’t we lucky that it’s all happening right here in Salt Lake City?

Amy Brunvand is a librarian at the University of Utah and a dance enthusiast.Ballet West:

Broadway Across America:
Kingsbury Hall:
SB Dance:
Repertory Dance Theater:
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company:
Utah Symphony:

This article was originally published on August 30, 2014.