Tom Mattingly Dance Project—named after the lauded Ballet West soloist—returns to the Utah Arts Festival for its second time with a newly commissioned premiere in tow. And Mattingly couldn’t be happier for the opportunity.
Back in 2010, he and the fledgling company were first invited to create a work titled PRONE. This year, they are scheduled to restage that piece along with Ave Maria, a pas de deux with music by local violinist Lynnette Threadgold and another commissioned premiere. According to Mattingly, being a part of the festival is not only a great chance to develop as a choreographer but also an amazing way to get his work seen by a wide spectrum of the public.
“The new piece will be called Saru, which translates to ‘monkeys’ in Japanese,” Mattingly says. “It’s a quirky, playful, complex and fast-paced work in three movements. I chose to use tsugaru shamisen music because it was so different than anything I had ever heard before. It’s a traditional instrument, but the music is very current and in no way feels old-fashioned.”
Consisting of a mix of performers culled from Ballet West and Ririe-Woodbury, Mattingly says that the blend of ballet and modern comes from the fact that his movement requires versatility: “I use a lot of dynamics in my choreography, and I need dancers who can excel in many different areas. Most of all, I need dancers who can really move. My choreography is rarely about the positions. It’s more about the path getting there, and then using line as a punctuation mark.”
Tom Mattingly Dance Project @ Utah Arts Festival, Washington Square, 200 E. 400 South, Festival Stage, 801-322-2428, June 22, 5:30 p.m., included with festival admission, $5-$10, $30 for weekend. UAF.org