Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance? Spring Performance Roundup

By Amy Brunvand

Modern dance, from rough to refined.

They say that laws are like sausages—it’s best not to see them being made.

It’s a different story when it comes to dance. Experimental performances and works-in-progress don’t always succeed, but new works always have an edge that’s lacking in familiar war-horses. If you can stand a little bit of sausage-making, it can be both enlightening and fascinating to watch artists develop and fine-tune new works. So challenge yourself this spring to go out and see something new.

Iron Choreographer winners

First, congratulations to the 2012 Iron Choreographer dynamic duo Melissa Anast and Stephanie Richards, who won with their ninja-inspired dance, “hoops and sticks.” Iron Choreographer is a (rigged) competition/fundraiser held each year by the Repertory Dance Theatre. Local choreographers are given a secret ingredient and one hour to create a dance while spectators snack on fancy desserts, watch the creative juices flow and bribe the judges. It’s always a chance to see Utah choreographers I’m not very familiar with and this year it was a pleasure to see some small-town girls prevail against the big dogs. Melissa Anast was born and raised in Price, Utah. Stephanie Richards grew up in St. George. Both are on the faculty at the Utah State University College of Eastern Utah in Price. Who even knew there was any modern dance going on in Price at all?

As quick and witty as the choreography was Master of Ceremonies Ken Verdoia, KUED-TV’s director of production, who put some wicked fun in this fundraiser.

LoveDANCEmore & Mudson

LoveDANCEmore has scheduled two Mudsons this spring. Mudson is a works-in-progress series that gives dancers a chance to try out their ideas on a live audience. Ashley Anderson, who coordinates LoveDANCEmore, writes that a chance to perform is vital to developing new dances because “it changes the way we watch performances by making them happen a lot, in progress, and for different audiences. It teaches us how our work behaves for audiences before we seek out ‘the big stage.’”

Also in March, look for volume four of Learning to loveDANCEmore, Salt Lake’s only journal documenting dance performance. The issue’s theme is “Survival.”

Mudson: March 19, 7:30pm, Masonic Temple (650 E. So. Temple). No charge, though “the hat” will be passed. (Next performance: April 16).

Duel*Ality 2.0

Another Language Performing Arts Company is showing a new iteration of their show from last year, Duel*Ality 2.0 in 3D! They describe their art as “Groundbreaking work in Telematic Cinema, Performance Art, and Access GridTM Collaborative Research,” which means you have to just go see it in order to understand what they are talking about.

Another Language Performing Arts Company: (Duel*Ality 2.0, March 2-4)

Modern dance at U of U

Salt Lake City is lucky to have the University of Utah Modern Dance Department constantly generating young dancers and new dances. Their performances are well worth attending. Mark your calendar now for all the March and April performances.

University of Utah student concerts: Performing Dance Company Spring Concert: March 9-10; Modern Dance Senior Concert 1—April 5-7; Concert 2—April 12-14; Student Concert: April 19-21 (Rm. 240). Marriott Center for the Dance, 330 S. 1500 E.

Online dance mini-fest

Ashley Anderson has also been helping curate an online dance-for-the-camera mini-festival called Dances Made to Order. This intriguing idea is vaguely similar to the “Iron Choreographer,” only maybe a little more serious-minded (and with a different purpose). Each month, three artists get two weeks to create a dance film inspired by themes the audience chooses.

The Salt Lake edition takes place March 7-15, with artistic teams Josie Patterson-Halford and Scott Halford; Samuel Hanson; and Anikó Sáfrán with Wyn Pottratz. The website specifies, “Dances Made to Order is not a competition between the artists. We think that’s tacky. We created the forum to investigate how three artists with very different aesthetics respond to the same ideas. We want to inspire and stimulate conversation.” There is a $10 fee to vote and view the films and most of the money goes directly to support the artists.

Dances Made to Order: Vote March 7-March 15; films premiere April 4.

Pro scene

Natosha Washington and Nicholas Cendese (who won Most Creative Use of Prop in the Iron Choreographer competition for their work with capes and wings) premiere their piece “What You Leave Behind” in Repertory Dance Theatre’s spring concert, Passage.

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is also showing premieres this spring with new works by Charlotte Boye-Christensen and by former Ririe-Woodbury dancer Keith Johnson.

Repertory Dance Theatre: Passage, March 22-24. Ririe Woodbury: Iridescence, April 26-28.

This article was originally published on February 29, 2012.