On one intense Saturday in 2012, the six resident companies of The Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center came together to showcase all the opportunities available in their fertile creative home with the first “The Rose Exposed” event. This was a day filled with free classes, readings, screenings, workshops, and performances culminating with a ticketed evening variety show featuring the resident companies and affiliated artists. 2013 brought an equally successful “2nd Annual” event that followed the same format, focusing on open experiences for the community at large. While the past two years have focused on the heart of the Rose and its resident artists, this year’s event will showcase the soul.
The Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation, Plan-B Theatre, PYGmalion Theatre Company, Repertory Dance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and SB Dance are once again featuring their best, but with a new goal and format. ROSE EXPOSED:HOME brings the companies together in a new way by having each company hold open, day-of rehearsals and present an entry for performance that signifies what home ( and a home at the Rose)means to them.
“After spending the previous 11 years as an itinerant company, finding a permanent home as a resident company at the Rose Wagner in 2002 strengthened and stabilized the company.” says Plan-B Theatre Company Artistic Director Jerry Rapier. Rapier is not a stranger to the one day format of the upcoming event. The cycle of same day rehearsal and performance is similar to the well-loved SLAM! event perfected by Plan-B. Rapier and his artists seem to thrive on the excitement and the uncertainty. “Plan-B’s “home” entry will feature playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett, actors David Holmes, Stephanie Howell, Lori Rees and Aaron Swenson, directed by yours truly.” Rapier said. “Right now I’m thinking of a sort-of-dumbshow-with-a-twist but it all depends on the decisions made at our meeting on August 19 and what rehearsal on August 23 brings!”
Daniel Charon of Ririe-Woodbury also expressed his enthusiasm for the creative opportunity something like “Home” can bring. “Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is thrilled to take part in the Rose Exposed with our fellow arts organizations housed in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. It’s a wonderful way to work closely with these fine groups to collaborate on an event that focuses on the process of creating work. It’s also an amazing opportunity to expose the public to what goes on behind the scenes at the Rose Wagner and to get a taste of what it’s like to create theatrical work for the stage. Through this exposure to process comes empowerment and understanding of what we do and we feel this is important to demystify dance and art.”
Joanne Rowland, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation, truly puts this in perspective: “The idea that artists from six different companies, all competing for dollars and audience, can collaborate for an evening of showcasing all of us, is extremely interesting and invigorating.” Rowland also clarified the motivation for the additional change in format: “We are primarily concerned with making something excellent and wonderful as a gift to the community. This year, the added element of really giving a gift — proceeds from the evening will go to The Road Home (100% of the ticket sales will benefit Utah’s largest homeless shelter)– is an added incentive; we want to raise an honorable amount to give.”
But how does this a day of new work and original content work for the next generation of solo concert pianists?
“Because our pianists are not primarily composers or improvisers (except that David Horton has included in his offerings playlist, five miniatures of his own composition, and Koji Attwood has included a marvelous transcription he has made of guitar music) they are not going to create their work on the day of the performance as the other companies are.” Rowland explained. “The pianists have submitted recordings of music they have prepared, knowing not all of it will be selected. The companies have received all of the music in a drop box and are sending “dibs” e-mails as I write. They have agreed that if two or more of them want to use the same music, they will talk with one another and decide what to do about it. I can hardly wait to see how this all turns out. I hope a lot of people will come during the day to watch the process and then stay or return for the evening to watch the results.”
Innovation and collaboration are obvious ingredients for all the resident companies and the lifeblood of SB Dance, evident in their most recent exhibition “Pushers”. But pushing the envelope still needs support. On the ROSE EXPOSED: HOME Facebook event page, SB DANCE founder and choreographer Stephen Brown states “The companies… are committed to our home at the Rose Wagner, to our respective art forms, to our neighborhood.”
Involving the neighborhood has also taken on a new dimension. The Facebook event page as well as individual companies have put out the call for community members to share thoughts about home by posting ‘a video, an image, a poem, an article, a song—whatever “home” is to you’ by 9:30am on Tuesday, August 19. Posts will then be divided up among the companies and serve as inspiration for the original piece created on August 23.
While the format may be new, what audiences love about the resident companies will still be very present in the new work. Artistic Associate and director of choreography for “HOME” Nicholas Cendese had this to say: “Repertory Dance Theatre has always offered our dancers the chance to collaborate on new choreography. In the past, the RDT dancers have explored the elements of Merce Cunningham’s chance methods (Gamut), used donated movements from dancers and non-dancers (8 Seconds of Fame), and developed a brand new dances for our children’s shows (Imagine That!, Snapshots). We are a company that often works in collaboration with one another and, For Rose Exposed: Home, the dancers (Justin Bass, Lauren Curley, Efren Corado Garcia, Dan Higgins, Tyler Orctt, Ursula Perry, Lacie Scott, and Jaclyn Brown) will once again come together to develop movement themes, ideas, and choreography that explores the ideas of home. Using spontaneous choreography, improvisation, and team work, each dancer will have an opportunity to develop their own ideas and contribute to a longer dance work that will be woven together during the day long rehearsal process. The ultimate outcome of the dance will depend on so many elements – making this process a fun adventure for the dancers and audience.”
The Rose, like any home that provides support, ultimately makes one simultaneously humble and eager to show it off and longtime resident Fran Pruyn is eloquent on the subject. “It is wonderful to be able to collaborate with such innovative and creative artists,” says Pruyn, Artistic Director for PYGmalion Theatre Company, “and we are wildly excited to play with them on the 23rd. It is also great that we can use this opportunity to help the Road Home.”( PYGmalion Theatre’s entry will feature favorite PYG performers Lane Richins, Barb Gandy, Deena Manzanares, and Daisy Blake with Pruyn directing. )
THE ROSE EXPOSED: HOME will be August 23 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center located at138 West Broadway (300 S.) in Salt Lake City.
Rehearsals are FREE and open to the public between 9 AM and 6 PM.
Benefit performance starts at 8pm in the Jeanne Wagner Theatre. Tickets are $25. Arttix.org