Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company will bring their 50th Anniversary season to a close this week, but before they go, they've got one last performance on the docket that's sure to delight. --- Accelerate is a brand-new venture featuring the works of Ellen Bromberg with stunning audio and visual content from Doug Varone to create a multimedia experience throughout every performance, and ultimately ending this season on the highest note possible. Today, we chat with our old friend Daniel Charon about this show and wrapping up RW's 50th year. (All photos courtesy of Ririe-Woodbury.)
Gavin: Hey Daniel, just to catch up, how has this season been for you so far?
Daniel: The season has been great. I think we have successfully honored and celebrated the 50th Anniversary. We really packed it in with not an extra minute to spare!
Gavin: How have audiences been receive the 50th anniversary, and what show has had the biggest response so far?
Daniel: From what I can tell, the response has been terrific. I think the audience enjoyed the nostalgia of past repertory and alumni company members, and at the same time saw a ton of brand-new work. I'm hoping it's also been an energizing and enticing year to get people excited about the future of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. I know it has gotten me more excited about what's to come.
Gavin: How did the idea for Accelerate come about?
Daniel: We wanted to end the season celebrating the artistic mission of the company, which commissions the creation of brand-new choreography. This is important as it supports and nurtures artists from around the globe but, more importantly, brings their voices here to Salt Lake City to share their work with this community. Salt Lake City is so fortunate to have work of this caliber consistently being presented.
Gavin: What was it like reaching out to Ellen Bromberg and Doug Varone to take part in this production?
Daniel: I actually wasn't the one who reached out to them. I arrived last June when this season was in place already. Ellen and Doug have been great through the process so I imagine reaching out to them would have been very exciting!
Gavin: Tell us about the pieces that were put together for this production?
Daniel: We are presenting three world premieres on the same program. I believe this is the first time in our history that this has happened. All three pieces utilize video technology in some way to support the choreography. I am also working with composer Mike Wall on my piece and he will also be performing live. This multimedia theme represents the sense of collaboration that has enabled Ririe-Woodbury to thrive all these years.
Gavin: What was it like rehearsing it with the crew and helping bring it to life?
Daniel: It's been good. Cliff Wallgren, our technical director, works very hard with each artist to understand their special technical needs. There are a lot of cameras, projectors, and cables necessary for this production so there is a lot of planning that needs to be done before we move into the theater. Cliff makes this process a smooth as possible. Again, it takes a team to make this show happen.
Gavin: What made you decide to make this performance the season closer for Ririe-Woodbury this year?
Daniel: As we look to the next season and beyond, it's important to have work that is new and will become an active part of our repertory. We celebrated our past this season and this closing show represents future.
Gavin: Reflecting back on the season, how would you say this one has shaped up compared to previous anniversary years?
Daniel: 50 years is special. This is a rare feat for contemporary dance companies all over the world. I know we accomplished all of our goals this year and felt good about it while having a good time. I wasn't here for the previous anniversaries but I imagine they accomplished their goals as well.
Gavin: How has it been for you and everyone involved taking part in this production and closing out the year on such a visual high note?
Daniel: We're doing great. Everyone has been doing their part and we are all looking forward to the performances. It's been a whirlwind year and it's satisfying to see the end of the season approaching. It's the last official performance aspect of the year and is the first time we are only working on one production because all the other shows are done.
Gavin: What are your thoughts going into opening night?
Daniel: I think it's going to be a great show. There is a lot to take in and the variety of choreography and use of technology should really keep people engaged. There are a lot of choreographic surprises and the dancing is amazing. This truly is a show not to be missed!
Gavin: Looking ahead, what can we expect from yourself and Ririe-Woodbury headed into the 2014-15 season?
Daniel: There is a lot of new work ahead for the next season. We will have two new pieces by guest choreographers that will be spread throughout the year. I am collaborating with the Salt Lake Electric Ensemble on a project that will be presented in the spring. Also, look for us in the community as we look to collaborate with various local arts organizations.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Daniel: I think I'm going to promote the obvious one more time. This is a great show with a lot of energy, physicality and beauty. It's a rare opportunity to see three works being performed for the very first time from three different choreographers who live thousands of miles apart. There is a video artist involved, a composer and a lot of pixels. It would be a great night on the town!
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