A Tribute to Bears Ears Headlines RDT's Opening Concert, SANCTUARY

A Tribute to Bears Ears Headlines RDT's Opening Concert, SANCTUARYRepertory Dance Theatre opens their 52nd season of dance in Salt Lake City with a tribute to the nature of sacred places with SANCTUARY, October 5-7 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

The nature of sacred places inspires the centerpiece commission by New York City-based choreographer and long-time RDT collaborator, Zvi Gotheiner. Dancing The Bears Ears, a tribute to Utah's newly designated Bears Ears National Monument, explores through movement this extraordinary landscape with its high mountain peaks; deep canyons; long, broken mesas; astounding arches and stately red-rock cliffs. The work celebrates this important legacy and honors those of us-both individuals and whole sovereign nations-who find there sustenance and renewal.

After traveling to the Monument in May of 2017, Gotheiner and the dancers returned to create a new ritual that connects humanity to sacred water and land. Dancing the Bears Ears features music by Scott Killian, who worked with Zvi Gotheiner on his first commission for RDT, Erosion in 1993, and has continued the artistic collaboration ever since.

Focusing on the nature of all sacred places, Andy Noble's Tower honors the hallowed ground where the Twin Towers once stood. Tower is a 15-minute storm that slowly builds, unleashing 33 dancers in waves until the entire stage is flooded with moving bodies and a cascade of falling rain.

"It's an exhilarating and exhausting ride," Noble said. "You don't get to see a big dance like this very often."

The dancers in Eric Handman's mysterious Ghost Ship explore how we are connected to our sense of place. Haunted by an ever-present past and caught in the limbo of memory, the marooned dancers in Ghost Ship perform with a volcanic and sinuous energy under a torrent of 120 pounds of falling rice. Flying through the dense traffic of lashing limbs and skating over the rice-covered stage, the dancers leave traces of their presence: the hieroglyphics of a vanished tribe.

In preparation for the SANCTUARY concert on October 5-7, RDT will host a free panel discussion on Wednesday, October 4 at 7 pm at Impact Hub, 150 State St #1 in Salt Lake City.

The free, public event, funded in part by Utah Humanities, will focus on the sacred nature of the Bears Ears National Monument, not only sacred to sovereign nations, but to white settlers, recreationists and environmentalists. The discussion will use as a departure point the notion that this land speaks to all of us about the spiritual and mythological connections we have to each other and to the earth, not only in Utah but across the nation.

Panelists include:
Willie Grey Eyes (Diné)
Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk (Ute Mt. Ute)
Mark Maryboy (Diné)
Ann Hannibal, Natural History Museum
Sara Dant, Historian, Weber State University
Moderator: Daniel McCool, University of Utah

A Tribute to Bears Ears Headlines RDT's Opening Concert, SANCTUARY

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