Repertory Dance Theatre put on a fantastic reunion show this past Thursday April 23 to welcome their 50th Anniversary Season in the coming year. The show opened with an ensemble piece, Bill Evans’ For Betty, which highlighted a regal, vibrant quality with the beautiful tangerine body suits and dresses the dancers rocked fiercely.
Intimate moments of solos and duets charged the space with an intense soundscape spanning jubilant, romantic and tragic emotions. The company’s partnerships were stunningly precise and jubilantly playful.
Schubert Impromptu by Francisco Gella offered a darker scenic design with blue lighting and all black costumes. Aggressive partnering created an electrically intimate sense of belonging amongst the dancers. The movement qualities moved beyond the romantic, into a sense of “lover/savior” companionship.
Brent Schneider’s Alone was a piece that revealed the inner-life of 1 male dancer, dealing with an internal struggle, and how to physicalize a soft-intimate violence onto one’s own body. This piece was the most impactful, for its use of vulnerability and how the dancer offered a glimpse into the world he was conjuring up. It’s keen sense of eye contact and smooth transitions allowed a deeper glimpse into the deep work. It was a cherished reminder of the beautiful interwoven nature that can happen between a choreographer and dancer.
Snack Pack, choreographed by Artistic Director Linda C. Smith, was a playful, ironic and charismatic piece that was performed to an entire Dance Instructional Video soundtrack. A giant ice-cream cone was thrown around and worked into the choreography. The dancers gave veracious versatility in how they attacked the movement, within the realm of preserving a sense of classical modern dance.
RDT values the historical significance of preserving repertory work, while also maintaining a charming, witty attitude that enlivens the work and keeps it relevant. This show was a great example of the beauty in bridging the two worlds of repertory work and contemporary dance together.
Yasin Fairley is an MFA candidate at the University of Utah. He dances and choreographs locally and has performed with several groups including Porridge for Goldilocks and Performing Dance Company.