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City Weekly Picks Dance 

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Even though Salt Lake City is already home to several professional dance companies, and on initial consideration it doesn’t make much sense for another one to move on in, creators Nick Cendese and Natosha Washington decided Utah was just the right place for RawMoves. With its first showing this past spring titled Caught in the Act, the new company has begun to tackle a perceived stodginess in the world of modern dance. As co-director Cendese notes, RawMoves will present work that may be more sensual and violent than what you might traditionally find, all in the name of reflecting experiences of a younger generation. (Jacob Stringer)

BEST ENDURANCE & GRACEMaggie Wright, Ballet West

Principal dancer Maggie Wright may very well be one of the most gifted ballerinas in the country, if not the world. She has shared her elegance, energy, and intensity with Utah audiences for nearly two decades. In a field that ruthlessly sidelines a great many aspiring dancers after just a few short years of performing, Maggie Wright has managed to survive and flourish. Every season she appears renewed and more keenly aware of the deeply personal quality that illuminates her dancing. Ballet West is lucky to have her, and we’re happy to salute her. (Jenny Poplar)


Knowing the intrinsic importance of entertaining the next generation of your audience, most dance companies go out of their way to provide lecture-demonstrations and/or youth-geared classes to local children. Going far and above this “required” outreach, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company presents a show every January that truly entertains the child in all of us, by the thousands. Although the dance pieces themselves are works culled directly from the company’s regular repertoire, the unifying themes are magical (as in Wizardry) and crazy enough (as in Mama Eddy’s Right On Boarding House) to keep the children entertained. (JS)


It takes a lot of guts for seasoned ballet dancers to remove their pink satin shoes and present a piece that removes the audience from their comfort zone. Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances, which was part of Ballet West’s Spring Sensation program, did just that. Bruce choreographed the haunting piece in reaction to the seemingly endless cycle of violence that afflicted Chile in the 1970s. Ballet West’s capable dancers, costumed in skeleton masks and muted peasant garb performed Bruce’s somber work with passion, intelligence, and urgency. The entire cast clearly understood that movement is a powerful way to examine a dire situation'exchanging pointes for politics is no small feat. (JP)

BEST REASON TO GET UP & DANCERepertory Dance Theatre Community School

According to its posted philosophy statement, “The RDT Community School began in 1994 as an extension of Repertory Dance Theatre’s mission of dedication to the creation, development, awareness and understanding of the art of modern dance.” So besides managing a fulltime professional repertory company, RDT offers classes, to all those dancers and wannabe dancers alike, in techniques ranging from Flamenco to Hip-Hop to African. Every class is offered at several experience levels'they even offer a “Dancers with Day Jobs” class and a “Prime Movement” class open to all those age 40 and over'and comes with an extremely affordable price tag of $10. (JS)

BEST 40TH SELF-CELEBRATIONCirque de Me, Stephen Brown

When turning that indelible age of 40, most people simply run and hide. Stephen Brown on the other hand, as founder and director of SB Dance, stages a celebration to the self. In Cirque de Me Brown presented a solo evening of work that celebrated his past, his present and his penchant for forcing his large frame into beautiful dresses. And apparently Brown is also willing to bring this celebration of his 40th self to stages worldwide as part of a package titled “Me, Me, Me.” The second “Me” refers to a lecture, “It’s All About Me,” discussing the different parts of the creative process, and the third “Me” refers to, “Me, Myself and Inner Eye,” a yoga fundamentals class that prepares one for the act of creation. (JS)

BEST DANCE INCENTIVERepertory Dance Theatre National Choreographic Competition

After Repertory Dance Theatre announced a national choreographic competition, it received nearly 50 responses that all reflected on the company’s multiyear thematic direction of “Sense of Place.” Out of those entries, RDT commissioned New York-based Molissa Fenley and Utah’s own Stephen Koester to create works for the company’s spring show, Voyage. Although the lucky choreographers got perfect incentive to create new work, Utah audiences were truly the beneficiaries with two brand-new, intriguing world premieres created specifically to “increase awareness of global and community issues and of the attributes that define our attachment to ‘place’ and to each other.” Here’s hoping that one successful competition will spawn another. (JS)


Gypsies, wayward lovesick soldiers, and sultry glances that ignite passionate affairs are just a few reasons why Ballet West’s production of Carmen deserves a SLAMMy for steamy operatic intrigue. Based on the opera of the same name, Amedeo Amodio’s brash, sensual ballet celebrates stormy drama and red-hot desire. Ballet West’s versatile dancers gave emotionally charged performances that complemented Georges Bizet’s seductive score. Carmen may have been a far cry from Ballet West’s more family-friendly offerings, but the explosive piece effectively showcased the sexier side of ballet. (JP)

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About The Authors

Jenny Poplar

Jenny Poplar is both a dancer and a frequent City Weekly contributor.

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