Archive for May, 2012

May 25, 2012

national tap dance day

by ashleyandersondances

happy national tap dance day. constance valis hill is the writer of a lot of tap history and while i cringe when anyone says “universal language” (it’s just asking for trouble) i love what she says about rhythm uniting audiences differently than other dance forms might. it is also true that tap is a uniquely american form.

May 19, 2012

Innovations review

by ashleyandersondances

Last night Ballet West opened it’s fifth installment of “Innovations,” a program where Ballet West dancers present new choreography alongside one established artist. Principal Artist Michael Bearden, Artist Aiden DeYoung, Soloist Easton Smith and Demi-Soloist Emily Adams showcased their choreographic work alongside a revival of Susan Shields’ “Grand Synthesis.” As a whole I agree with Director Adam Sklute’s assessment that the evening was diverse and creative. “Innovations” expressed a range of artistic interests from traditional narrative ballet to the cool of more contemporary choreographers; at it’s best the show was innovative, as the title promised and all pieces offered an exploration of the effort it takes to craft a ballet.

Michael Bearden’s “Descent” handled a tragic, historical romance which wound its own path around recognizable narrative ballet traditions. It was freeing to follow a story without expected full length features of a Grand Pas or large Corps but the path was not without difficulty. The use of props was sometimes distracting and certain plot elements, namely the Russian revolution, were dealt with too briefly and in ways too comical or melodramatic for the overall tone. Bearden should be applauded for continuing to work on the project since 2010; when you imagine that many ballet stories have been performed endlessly it’s clear that with more growth Bearden’s concluding dance of the dead could become beloved and fixed as other wicked ballet fixtures like the Willies.

Easton Smith dealt with narrative more abstractly in his premiere of “With You”.  The opening scene was evocative with dramatic lights warning of looming tragedy. The dancing that followed might have been linked in the eyes of the choreographer — emotions spilling out of a tragedy resulting in lush partnering — but the resonance of the dancing didn’t match the strength of the opening imagery. In dancing what we feel matters, but in choreography it’s creating the realm for the audience that matters, not just what the dancers are sensing. Much like Bearden’s work the kudos are for diving right into the process and taking risks. I’ll be interested to his how his aesthetic evolves with new projects.

If Michael and Easton posed choreographic problems for which they strive, as young artists, to find solutions, Aiden DeYoung and Emily Adams demonstrated the importance of new voices in the more codified forms of ballet. Aiden’s work “Eenvoudig,” and Emily’s “Forces at Play” were remarkably fresh and complex. “Forces at Play,” benefited from being the only piece to feature live music. Many of the dancers, specifically Tom Mattingly, were able to dance from within the score and highlight the quick, light sections that mark the dance. While it seems there is more to address within the staging, the choreography had come a long way from its preview in the fall and I found the duets among the men were truly unique.

While Aiden’s preview of “Eenvoudig” last fall seemed too derivative of William Forsythe, this revised version moved beyond the shock of ballerinas in black socks and into new territory. Using a choppy selection of music and approaching movement directly and succinctly the choreography offered a sampler of non-narrative vignettes. Aiden seemed apt at choosing dancers for each section, particularly a solo in which Katie Critchlow walked past the wings smacking each one with an open palm. To think of how many dances I’ve watched, or how many times I myself have tried not to touch a wing, and then to see her hand purposefully erase what I thought I knew was important or what I should expect was  magical. This was just one taste in which Aiden explored unconventional choices. Some were obvious (exposing a back wall and lights) and others less so, like the subtle incorporation of alternative movement styles.

The magic continued to the last piece of the evening with “Grand Synthesis” as a reminder that longevity is what makes any choreographic career worthwhile. Susan Shields’ ability to move bodies through space with ease created complicated and surprising patterning from which joyful dancing emerged at every turn. While she could have used a more contemporary look at costuming from her younger counterparts it was a great way to end the evening.

“Innovations” continues at the Rose today at 7:30 and next week (Weds-Sat).

Ashley Anderson runs loveDANCEmore community events as part of her 501c3 “ashley anderson dances” she regularly choreographs and teaches in SLC.

May 18, 2012

coming up SLC

by ashleyandersondances

Living Traditions happens this week. Juan Aldape reviewed some of the offerings last summer which was great. Anyone out and about this year is free to submit their comments on the performances via Salt Lake has such a strong concert dance scene that this is a reminder the dance community extends beyond those proscenium boundaries. Read a preview by Kathy Adams in the Trib here.

Also opening this weekend is one of Ballet West’s most interesting events, Innovations. Ballet West dancers get to apply to present their own choreographic projects (they pitch the concept, the budget and more for selection). It’s refreshing to see performances that are alternative to the classic fare at the Capitol and to remember these performing artists have their own choreographic ideas.

Also! Don’t forget to pick up your tickets to Daughters of Mudson — the new greatest hits series curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones. Tickets are available for the June 16-17 performances at

May 14, 2012

Feldenkrais class offering

by ashleyandersondances

Saturday June 2nd Dan Schmidt’s Feldenkrais mentor, Diana Razumny  is in town. For those who don’t know Dan has been helping SLC’s dancers (among others) obtain optimal wellness through bodywork. She’ll be teaching a public class at Vitalize Studio and you can get all the details at or by e-mailing

May 3, 2012

another review of karole’s newer work

by ashleyandersondances

RW audiences have seen work by Karole Armitage for several years now. The most current rendition of “It’s Gonna Get Loud” getting somewhat lukewarm reviews both on the blog and in the Trib.

This recent review of her company’s performance in NY really put RW’s recent performance in context and gave me a lot more to think about:

And speaking of context…while perusing (something everyone should do on a regular basis) I came across NYLA’s request for “context notes” writers for upcoming shows.

May 3, 2012

journal for out-of-towners

by ashleyandersondances

learning to loveDANCEmore is typically distributed at no cost to venues in Salt Lake City but it’s a little harder to get copies out to national readers. Conveniently paypal exists and allows us to pay our postage for sending you a copy (or two) of the most recent journal issue. Use the links below to order the newest Spring 2012 volume or select 2011 volumes you may have missed. As always send questions to

Purchase journals via PayPal:
Buy Now: Spring 2012, $3
Buy Now: Fall 2011, $3
Buy Now: Complete 2011, $5
May 1, 2012


by ashleyandersondances

After watching countless works-in-progress at Mudson events since 2010 I decided, along with the board, that finding ways to support the continuation of these works was vital. I think all audiences could agree that having the venue made a difference in works that were completed (like the thesis projects of Kitty Sailer and Rachael Shaw and longer projects by Erica Womack and Nancy Carter).

Our board president, Ishmael Houston-Jones stepped in and offered to curate a Mudson greatest hits based on the documentation of the events.

So June 16 & 17 (Saturday and Sunday) Rachael Shaw, Kitty Sailer, Leah Nelson, Emily Haygeman and Ashley Anderson for Movement Forum will present the completed versions of their earlier projects.
Exact times are pending but the event will be held at the Studio Theater at the Rose with tickets available on ArtTix. Mark your calendars and standby for all the info on DAUGHTERS OF MUDSON.

May 1, 2012

upcoming open house

by ashleyandersondances

Many modern dancers in the community have one more thing in common….aerial dance. Specifically, Aerial Arts of Utah. Many of the choreographers and performers we know and love also train young dancers and adults in this emerging form.
They are hosting an Open House this Saturday, May 5, 1-5pm, FREE and open to the public. We will have sample mini-classes in aerial fabrics, trapeze, lyra, and AcroYoga, as well as instructor performances and snacks. Students who attend the Open House will receive a discount code for 10% off of registration for summer classes. For more information visit

%d bloggers like this: