Author: callieo

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS at the Empress needs more than partridge in pear tree

MAGNA — Before I went out to the Empress Theatre in Magna Friday night, I was hoping to find out more about 12 Days of Christmas, their current production directed by Bryan McNabb, but a quick Google search turned up nothing. It turns out that it is an original production, written by The Empress Theatre’s artistic director, Jake M. Anderson specifically for this community theatre and this cast. As a theatre scholar with a particular interest in plays written by Utah playwrights, I was immediately intrigued, even more so when the program’s director’s notes indicated that the show had been...

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RoseXposed: SB Dance

Started in 1996 by Stephen Brown, SB Dance became an organization where dance theatre could break the rules of traditional and modern dance theatre, where it could address controversial subjects, and turn the expected into the shocking.  SB Dance was also one of the first arts organizations to move into the Rose Wagner Theatre.  As Brown remembers, SB Dance produced the second performance ever held at the Rose in the Spring of 1998 in the black box theatre.  Since that time, the company has experienced significant evolution.  Brown insists, Artistically, the company began as standard dance/theater and has blossomed into what I call a “dance circus,” a mix of movement, objects, and narrative theater. We now do more shows throughout the year and have a diverse menu of programming that includes classes, workshops, and events like Cultural Confidential and Sporty Yoga (at Rose Exposed on Saturday). More visible, still subversive. The hard-core Salt Lake fans that support the “dance circus” of SB Dance provide support for Brown’s intentional unexpected, from “full-frontal [nudity], to a yoga musical to a Rock Opera Dance Musical.”  Like his creative team, Brown recognizes that that the “SB Dance audience seeks adventure.”  He adds, “ What’s the point of confirming what you already know?” Many people are surprised that a performing arts organization like SB Dance even exists in Utah, but, really, it represents a part of...

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RoseXposed: Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company

The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (RWDC), another Rose Exposed participant, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  Like other world-renowned performing companies in Utah, the RWDC was started by passionate Utah women.  Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe were professors of dance at the University of Utah who started the RWDC because of their fervent belief that dance is a necessity for everybody and that it is particularly influential to the development of youth.  In the fifty years since its creation, the RWDC has grown from a local jewel to an international success, all while maintaining their exclusive number of 6 dancers....

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RoseXposed: Repertory Dance Theatre

When many long-time locals think of a Salt Lake City dance company, Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) is the only dance company that comes to mind.  Since 1966, the RDT has been cultivating an appreciation for modern dance in Salt Lake City.  It first found its home at the University of Utah in an old barracks building.  In fact, executive and artistic director Linda Smith recalls that the company was “Nestled between the inbred rodent colony and artificial organs laboratories.” While the location was interesting, it was not ideal.  In short, although the RDT had a fruitful working relationship with the University of Utah and the performance space at Kingsbury Hall, a dedicated rehearsal, office, and performance space was needed in order to help the company fulfill its vision of becoming, “more integrated into the life of the community.” Although the RDT met each season with success, it looked to a time when it could offer programs for children and seniors, develop a school, and offer lectures all the while maintaining its status as one of the most unique dance companies in the world, one which acts as both a living library of dance and offers an exceptional performance season.  With their tremendous vision and drive, the RDT pushed for a performance space that would help them and other performing arts groups achieve their goals of providing Salt Lake City...

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RoseXposed: Pygmalion Theatre Company

One of the few production companies in Utah dedicated to women, Pygmalion Productions is more than just a theatre company.  Nancy Roth and Reb Fleming started Pygmalion Productions in 1995 in order to give “voice to women through a variety of artistic media.”  Once based in Ogden, the company moved to the Rose Wagner theatre in 2005 (the same year the company merged with Theatre Works West) and has since grown exponentially, despite its founders’ retirement.  Its season now includes three fully mounted productions, as many readings, off-site events, such as those that occur at local schools, and other...

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