The evening begins as the choreographers acquire a secret “ingredient” and venture off to work with a group of dancers. After audience members mill about snacking and peeking into the studios for about an hour, judges—including Janet Gray (of Janet Gray Studios) and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker—deliberate upon whom to bestow the coveted title of Iron Choreographer.
This year, in honor of RDT’s 45th anniversary, the five contending artists will all be RDT alumni. The winner for 2010, who traditionally returns to the fold to defend their title, happens to be Todd Allen, who danced with the company from 1993-1999. Others slated to join in the fun will be Michael Kelly Bruce (1974-1981), Kim Strunk (1984-1996), Angela Banchero-Kelleher (1985-1992; 1998-2007) and Brent Schneider (1989-1994).
The speed of the evening presents a unique opportunity to accept creative impulses as they come, “like how the movement fits with the music or how dancers relate to each other in space,” Allen says. “Participating in Charette reminds me of the importance of allowing a process to unfold naturally … not to try to keep it constrained within some idea of a final product that is bouncing around in my head. Sometimes, it’s good to keep it quick and dirty.”