Ririe-Woodbury brings new experiences to Park City
November 8, 2016
For the past three years, The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company has given Park City audiences experiences at the Egyptian Theatre that differ from those its Salt Lake City audiences encounter.
"The Egyptian Theatre performances are special shows," said Artistic Director Daniel Charon. "Everything we do up there isn't seen in Salt Lake City during the current season."
On Friday and Saturday, the world-renowned contemporary dance company will present a four-work program that includes a company premiere and a world premiere.
The selections are "Super We," a fast-paced duet by Tzveta Kassobova and Raja Feather Kelly, and the abstract "Star Mark" by Joanna Kotze. The performance also includes two selections by Charon — a piece called "Shift" and an excerpt from his work "53 Rooms."
"'Super WE' is a fun, relentless movement journey of contemporary life," Charon said. "It's a about a friendship and human interaction."
The work relies on rhythm, patterns and space.
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"I'm excited because we haven't performed this publically before," he said. "We just got it when Tzveta came to Salt Lake to create another piece we premiered in September."
Early this week, Kassabova's co-choreographer Raja Feather Kelly was in town to refine the work for the Egyptian Theatre performance.
"I'm looking forward to this duet because we have a lot of works that are for six or more dancers," Charon said, "so doing a duet will be a nice change."
Joanna Kotze was inspired by what the human perception of beauty is when she created "Star Mark."
"She examined the subjectivity of beauty and how we blend into it," Charon said.
"Star Mark" is a true world premiere, meaning it has never been performed before.
"Nothing existed before she came to Salt Lake, because she developed everything here," Charon said.
"Star Mark" features a series of projections that the dancers interact with.
"Joanna and I worked together on the projections," Charon said. "She had an idea and I helped visualize it."
The Egyptian Theatre is the perfect venue to host its premiere.
"It has some great technology, including a spectacular projector," Charon said. "When I choose the programming that we know will be performed up there, I like to select works that have video elements in them because of their vibrant and bright projector."
The score was commissioned by a composer named Ryan Steaton, who founded a band in New York called Callers.
"This is one of our more avant-garde pieces, I may say," Charon said. " It was a fun process for me to collaborate with one of our guest artists."
Charon's works the excerpt from "53 Rooms" and "Shift" are both culled from larger projects.
The complete "53 Rooms" runs 40 minutes long and was set on the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company dancers along with an additional 19 dancers from the University of Utah.
"The work was meant to be a modular creation, meaning that it can be performed in many different configurations," Charon said. "We can perform the whole work or do parts of it and the idea is that these different modules can live or exist on their own."
"Shift" is part one of "The together Alone Trilogy."
"While 'Shift' is a full piece in its own, it's like going to the first episode of the "Star Wars" movie," Charon said. "There's closure to it, but there are sequels that are coming."
The broad idea of the trilogy is about how human evolution is fundamentally changing because of its interaction with technology.
"The first part, which we'll perform at the Egyptian Theatre, is about our initial interaction with technology," Charon said.
The second part, which Charon created last spring, is about being the abstracted self within the digital world.
The third part hasn't been made yet.
"I don't know when it will be made because I'm waiting for more time to go by," he said. "In order to do the third part, I need technology to evolve more."
Charon is looking forward to how Park City reacts to these pieces.
"Many people feel intimidated about attending a contemporary dance performance, but this one will be enjoyable for everyone," he said. "We want people to come and see something pretty and not worry about analyzing anything."
Charon is also curious to see how the pieces will translate in the Egyptian Theatre's intimate space.
"The character of the space is so great and it has such a wonderful personality," he said. "The proportions are a little different, but we're a touring contemporary dance company and our job is to adapt to the different performance spaces.
"We figure out how the work fits the space and we find creative ways to use the area," Charon said. "Working with the Egyptian Theatre is a great partnership for us."
The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company will perform from 8-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12, at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St. Tickets range from $10 to $19 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.