When Repertory Dance Theatre was first conceived of and founded in 1966, it had one main focus—stipulated by its financial backer, the Rockefeller Foundation—that differentiated it from most other companies at the time: It was to become a mixed-bag repertory company; a modern-dance museum, if you will.
During that period, before video recording was readily available, nearly every other established American modern-dance company focused on the artistic theory, mindset and aesthetic of a single choreographer: Martha Graham Dance Company presented Martha Graham works, Limón Dance Company, the work of Jóse Limón … you get the idea. RDT instead would have the distinct direction of becoming a repository for all classic modern choreographers.
Continuing this mission into the 21st century, RDT recently received a $120,000 American Masters grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, specifically for the acquisition of work by the great choreographer Michio Ito. Teachers from Japan’s Michio Ito Doomonkai came to Utah this past summer to pass on Ito technique and theory, taking the time while they were here to restage 11 classic pieces by the late master.
Utah audiences now get the opportunity to experience Ito’s work firsthand, accompanied by live Gina Bachauer pianists, with RDT’s spring performance Mystique. Also on the bill is a new work by University of Utah professor Satu Hammasti titled Songs I Wanna Sing (ToYou) and a return of Kraak, a piece by Norway’s Jo Stromgren.