Archive for April, 2012

April 30, 2012

Dance Film High School Workshop!

by ashleyandersondances

You may have read a few days ago that our next dance film gallery will be held at the Leonardo throughout the month of June. More details are coming soon but in the meantime….

Sam Hanson will be running a dance film workshop for high school students for three days during the film gallery. Students will experience the gallery and screenings while working on their own creative projects and learning the technical skills required to produce dance film and video projects.

Interested high school students should send an e-mail to OR comment on this thread to receive an application with the precise June dates and other important information.
The cost is $100 with scholarships and financial assistance available.

April 28, 2012

low lives at UMFA?

by ashleyandersondances

There was a performance this weekend at UMFA featuring a Denver based Choreographer. We didn’t make it due teaching schedules, but if you went, please send your thoughts to…

April 27, 2012

Iridescence at the Rose

by ashleyandersondances

As much as I ever have been, I was wowed by the six dancers who currently comprise Ririe Woodbury during the opening night of Iridescence (running through Saturday at the Rose). That’s saying something, given that I’ve been watching this group on and off since I was a little kid. Throughout, I found myself thinking a lot about how the company has shifted over the years and what has remained the same.
Iridescence opened with Duet by Bill T. Jones. It’s clearly a dance made not by the Tony award-winner we’re used to seeing on PBS, but a younger man, with different questions on his mind. Jones here is not dealing with anything overtly political as in much of his other work. At first the exploration seems very formal, the space is cut by masking tape that divides the floor into a grid. Jo Blake moves with a clear coolness I’ve never seem him employ. He’s isolating different body parts. But not with the fake, blank sense of “neutrality” some of us might associate with (a parody of) postmodern dance. Instead there’s a true sense of play, like he’s trying all the ways he knows to move each piece and as if for the first time. Tara McArthur walks in on the middle of all of this with a casualness that seems at once to complicate and explain everything Jo has done. There is a kind of accord with what at first glance might seem an arbitrary score. It set to “folk” songs from Madagascar, Iran and the Ivory Coast. This is coexistence, but not in the Cage/Cunningham sense. There’s an awareness of the otherness in this music within an American Modern Dance setting. In general, there’s a sense of felt space, real and metaphorical. There’s play between the steps and subtle humor as this man and woman feel each other while the choreography repeats itself, seeming to be rewritten on the spot to be more clever with each try. (Brad Beakes and Bashaun Williams will dance Duet on Friday. Elizabeth Kelly-Wilberg and Alex Bradshaw dance it Saturday.)
   Duet was unique within the evening in that it showcased individuality in the performers. All of the dances that followed (with the exception of one) included the entire company. West and Those in the Desert by Artistic Director Charlotte Boye-Christensen, sought to evoke places: the American West and the Middle East respectively. Both works featured her trademark use of balletic lines breaking and remaking themselves in rapid succession, pulling the dancers through long limbed partnering that seems directed by some unseen masochistic order. Those in the Desert was set to instrumental music by Ibrahim Maalouf which allowed the formalities and rigor of the choreography to dominate, albeit flavored with Arabic harmonies. In West however, these taut machinations were performed to (among others) Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and Cat Power. The choreography re-postured itself slightly against the backdrop of each new song, relating to the emotional bravura of Power and Cash and the fast paced word-play in Waits. Sadly for me, this train never really slowed down enough in any of these places for me to see where we were going. What I really wanted was to stop off to look around at the landscape.
 It’s Gonna Get Loud, by Karole Armitage, was ironically one of the quieter pieces of the evening, both in actual volume and in scope. It was similar to West in pace, but in a straight-forward, playful way. This dance, set to a triple electric guitar score by seventies composer Rhys Chatham, was trying to be fun and sexy, but it didn’t try too hard, and I think that’s why it succeeded to the extent it did. I was reminded of popular NY choreographers of the nineties and early eighties like Doug Varone and David Dorfman, men who move big across the floor and enjoy themselves immensely. The company enjoyed themselves too and didn’t take it too seriously.
Perhaps the most ambitious piece of the evening was by Keith Johnson, a Californian with strong Utah ties. Secret Dark World was full of dance-theatre tropes looking for a home. Throughout, there was an expectation set up that we would view violence. Muted aggression was performed, but never explained or developed. The tone of the work seemed to want to be abrasive and European in the way we might like to imagine European dance as being cutting-edge, but it wasn’t. Deep down it was a very American piece and even a pretty Western piece, more so than Boye-Christensen’s West. Men and women dance together in couples and then in their respective groups of three. There are chairs in which everyone sits and then slumps as though shot by imaginary bullets. Some of these images seem to find themselves and others don’t. I didn’t feel any catharsis with what I think might have been the central images of the piece. At times this really bothered me. Why was Bashaun Williams crawling, then walking, at the behest of a taunting voice that spoke to him like a dog? And why did the same crawl-walk get re-enacted by Brad Beakes, just one more time, while wearing a dog collar held by Tara McArthur. At other times I didn’t care about the why, though I still wondered. Why did Elizabeth Kelly-Wilberg do that gorgeous, precarious solo while the chairs closed in on her? Perhaps it was just a beautiful goodbye, she’s leaving the company after this season and will certainly be missed.

Sam Hanson choreographs and makes dance film in SLC. You can see his newest project on

April 25, 2012

films this summer. at the leo.

by ashleyandersondances

spring events might be over at loveDANCEmore but if the weather right now is any indication, summer begins sooner rather than later.

and nearly all of june it looks like we’ll be showing our dance film gallery at the leo. this includes a smattering of screenings as well as live performances. more details to come soon of artists involved and sneak previews of their work.

April 25, 2012

upcoming classes

by ashleyandersondances

Tonight you can take class with Ai Fujii Nelson in one of the basement studios at the Rose. Join the “master class” facebook group (it’s easy to find!) for all the details on time, price and exact studio.

Also a great experience this Saturday is to take class from RW Guest Artist Keith Johnson. You may have seen his work-in-progress at a recent RW “Meet the Choreographer” event and you can see his premiere this weekend at the Rose. This is a unique situation to see the work of a choreographer in context of their technical practice. Keith is also really great and have supported loveDANCEmore during his time in SLC by attending Mudson and picking up our journal.

Again for details on these classes and future Master Class offerings check facebook or e-mail for the scoop.

April 24, 2012

FR/ACK review

by ashleyandersondances

Dan Mont-Eton’s FR/ACK played to a small but enthusiastic audience at SugarSpace last weekend, April 20-21. There was one live piece, a duet from Erica Womack of recent motherhood/MFA success, and one video dance, made by Tanja London at the surprisingly beautiful “Camperworld” of Northern Utah. The rest of the evening included a PowerPoint lecture on fracking in Pennsylvania, originally presented live for PA locals, and a panel discussion on the power of the arts, the stupidity of politics, and the impending doom of our natural world.

Well, that sounds very depressing. It was actually a lively evening, and it offered artists a chance to connect themselves to the world outside the studio door. Womack shared her inspiration for a piece that evoked quiet desperation and perserverance. “I had just found out that I was pregnant when Dan asked me to contribute to this show. My toddler was jumping up and down on my nauseous belly, and I thought: This is how Mother Nature must feel sometimes.” Her work paired a formally dressed Sarah Allen with Charlene Blackthorn, lovely in a casual style than suggested a more natural sensibility. She was clearly the earth goddess, and she certainly fits the part. With her long, sinewy arms and calm presence, she orbited Sarah with an easy grace. Of course, Sarah ultimately took advantage of their relationship, manipulated her, pissed her off, and caused her to slink off in resignation. But hey, it was a great time while it lasted! Thanks, Earth!

Tanja London’s work takes place in an open glass structure at the shared edge of water, earth, and sky. The set was an effective monument to the willful separation of humans from their natural habitat. It provided interesting persepctives, both physical and emotional. The two performers, Katherine Adler and Amy Falls, were sensitive to both the warmth and the coldness present in the steel and glass. Often they gazed through it, as if through a window onto a different world. Yet their feet rested on the same earth whether they were inside or out. During one remarkable passage, the structure seemed to rotate around them, implying four sides when really some walls were only made of air. This artificial inside/outside divide can tell us much about our lives. Does the earth distinguish between the forest and the city? My backyard and my neighbor’s? Why do I spend so much time cleaning up my kitchen, and so little time cleaning up the park? Is my kitchen the only part of this world that is “mine” to steward?

These questions and more were swimming through my mind during the following discussion on fracking and its potential hazards for water tables, college dormitories, highways soaked in radioactive backwash, and this species we call human. We could all use a wake up shower, radioactive or otherwise. I was surprised by how few people made it to this informative show, and I wonder whether the idea of a cold shower doesn’t mix with a recreational activity like a dance performance. Comments?

Kitty Sailer is completing her MFA at this very moment! Prior to living in Utah she did many things including choreographing and performing in Missoula.

April 21, 2012

Emeralds Roughly Cut

by lovedancemoreintern

In the three years that I have attended Ballet West shows I have been thoroughly impressed by the company’s breadth. Under the artistic direction of Adam Sklute they have grown to be a leading force in the American ballet scene. For this year’s Spring Season Ballet West presented a brief history in ballet. Beginning with one of the most revered ballets
from choreographer Marius Petipa, the Grand Pas from Paquita was a lesson in the roots of the classical ballet. Moving to a more modern take on ballet, Emeralds from George Balanchine’s Jewels was presented as the “main event” for this bill. Lastly, a drastically contemporary piece choreographed by Jiří Kylián, Petit Mort closed the evening.

It was not my expectation, but Petipa’s Grand Pas turned out to be my favorite piece of the evening. Originally first staged on the Imperial Ballet in Russia, Petipa ushers the audience into a Spanish royal court. Heavily influenced with Spanish flavor with simple wrist flicks and coquettish smiles much of the corps movement frames and mimics the main action of the principal ballerina (played by Christiana Bennet on April 14). The corps members themselves
worked quite lovely as individuals, though they had a particularly challenging time working as a group. While it was not the strongest technical evening for Christiana Bennet, her commanding presence on stage would easily deceive an untrained eye. I will note that she very laudably executed a full 32 fouette turns, a tradition that has been fading out of vogue that I was pleased to see endured. She remains a mature and artistic dancer taking on leading roles with the gravitas and conviction needed. Rex Tilton (in the male role on April 14) brings a similar assertiveness that is as convincing as it is entertaining to witness. He works as an admirable partner and was particularly impressive both in his pirouettes and tours. I would like to acknowledge a singularly exemplary performance by new member Beckanne Sisk whose variation was exceptionally performed eliciting more than a few well deserved “Bravo’s.” Overall, the Grand Pas was a terrific reminder of why classical ballet formats are so enjoyable to watch.

Typically, Balanchine’s Emeralds is shown as the first in a triptych of his Jewels. It serves as a visually glamourous and lyrical interlude to the rest of the ballet. Within the context of Jewels it reads well and lives up to the splendor of late Balanchine work. In regards to the Ballet West production, it seemed to not know it’s place and was, pardon the pun, a little lack luster. The choreography mimics the costumes; refined and delicately embellished. Balanchine knows
how to use a corps as both compliment and counterpoint. The ever changing tableaus were charming and easy on the eye, but the lack of development seemed to make me question it’s placement within the program. While the lighting (including a fully lit “emerald” cyc) was very accurately reconstructed, it seemed at times to swallow the attention away from the dancers. Emeralds is also not a piece that I would say accurately depicts Balanchine’s true nature. Perhaps a more appropriate inclusion to the performance would have been Rubies which demonstrates the
harsher more angular and even cold personality that is generally associated with Balanchine’s work.

Petit Mort by Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián was the piece I had anticipated the most for this evening. I regret to say that I was not nearly as impressed as I had hoped to be. Kylián created this work in honor of the death of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart utilizing two of his most beloved piano concertos. The piece begins with a rumbling of drums that sets the tension. As the curtain rises six men are revealed balancing swords upon their fingers. This
delicate image was slightly tainted as one of the men was merely holding his sword in his hand. This was the first of several illusions that was not successfully accomplished during the piece. Kylián’s highly demanding work requires not only a deep understanding of artistic development but also a confidence in one’s own actions. Unfortunately, the Ballet West ensemble was unable to evoke the tragic, clever, and sensitive nature that is inherent in the choreography. While they certainly have the chops to pull of the physicality of more contemporary work, there seemed to be a lack of credence and more pronounced uncertainty in the performers’ attitudes. While Ballet West remains in my eyes a promising and continually invigorating company, this program did not seem to showcase their skills as an entire group quite adequately. I am looking forward to their Season Finale, Innovations running May 18, 19 and 23-26 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center downtown. Here Ballet West Artists are able to showcase their own work which will hopefully showcase their dancers as equally impressive.

Katherine Adler is a BFA candidate at the University of Utah and an intern for loveDANCEmore

April 19, 2012

The Little Mermaid — a children’s review

by ashleyandersondances

I went to see The Little Mermaid by Ballet West with my dad. We had such a great time.  The show was funny, silly and there was a rainbow of colors. The music was beautiful too. My favorite dances were when the boys carried the girls and they flew across the stage. I also loved the jump twirls, and the boys who spun around really, really fast. The boys were such amazing dancers. Also the pretty tree frogs were funny. They hopped around and moved their bodies in strange ways, and I loved their big sparkly yellow eyes. The sea witch was my favorite character. She looked like a colorful rainbow, but she was mean and took Ariel’s voice. The costumes were so glittery. The prince’s bride had a gold dress and the the crabs had big claws that they moved from side to side. It was really silly. I also really liked the music. I liked the horns with the ribbons. They were very loud and sounded like the music of the rainbow. The little boys played horns and the little girls went up on their toes. It was awesome!

I think everyone should go to the ballet, especially with their dad. I think everyone in the world would like this ballet. It was so much fun.

Lyla Kate Sylvia lives in Sandy, Utah and will start kindergarten in the fall. She started taking her first dance classes this year. 

April 17, 2012

classes this week

by ashleyandersondances

SLC is finally getting up to speed with professional level class offerings. For a long time SLC has been a hub of dance education for children, introductory classes for adults and clearly a setting for many higher education institutions.

But now on Tuesday’s you can take co.da company class at Sugar Space and on Wednesday/Saturday you can take Master Class at Ririe-Woodbury downtown.

It’s simple to get all the details on a rolling basis. Master Class has a facebook group and co.da posts most details on the Sugar Space page or through company members like Nancy Carter or Annie Robson. So facebook stalk away and get to class.

Also check back this week for some more writing on Ballet West (including a 4 year old’s take on Little Mermaid).

April 16, 2012

mudson tonight!

by ashleyandersondances

masonic temple ballroom (650 e. south temple)
parking and entrance in back

see new works-in-progress by mike watkiss, emily haygeman and erin romero
watch the trailers for dances made to order films from the SLC edition

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