RDT's Season Of MANIFEST DIVERSITY Opens With The Poignant Choreography Of The Late Donald McKayle
The nation's oldest and most successful modern dance repertory company opens their 53rd season of dance in Salt Lake City with SPIRIT, October 4-6, 2018 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.
Celebrating ethnic and racial diversity has long been a priority of RDT.
In the wake of controversies over immigration, travel bans, and discrimination against socially marginalized groups, RDT wishes to expand its legacy of diversity with the content of its concerts and outreach programs to underscore the cultural threads from the many lands that have been braided into the art form of modern dance over the past 100+ years.
SPIRIT will launch the Company's season-long initiative of MANIFEST DIVERSITY, an initiative to illuminate the convergence of different cultures and peoples that have made modern dance a rich tapestry of the American experience. SPIRIT celebrates yesterday and today with the work of two historical choreographers and two world-premiere commissions.
The centerpiece for this timely performance is Rainbow Round My Shoulder by the late Donald McKayle. Created in 1959, the acclaimed modern dance classic is a searing dramatic narrative set on a chain gang in the American south. Rainbow features seven men set as prisoners working and breaking rock from "can see to can't see." Their aspirations for freedom come in the guise of a woman, first as a vision then as a remembered sweetheart, mother, and wife. The songs that accompany their arduous labor are rich in polyphony and tell a bitter, sardonic, and tragic story.
Honoring the work of the founders and pioneers of the early 20th-century modern dance has been central to the mission of Repertory Dance Theater.
RDT is proud to perform selected works from its extensive repertory by Japanese choreographer, Michio Ito. One of a boundary-crossing generation that brought about the literary, musical and artistic breakthroughs of modernism, and the eclectic beginnings of American modern dance, Ito blended features in "Eastern" and "Western" art. He codified a precise movement language and created choreography which emphasized the distillation of emotion, inner concentration, and incisive gesture. As the official U.S. repository of Ito's work, we are committed to preserving the choreography of this celebrated artist.
In contrast, RDT presents two world premieres by two African-American choreographers who articulate the "spirit" of contemporary life. Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Artistic Director of Elisa Monte Dance, states, "I am appreciative of the women in my life and I want to give voice to the fact that I love being a female." Her Joy celebrates the power of female relationships and features the four women of the Company.
Also premiering will be Say Their Names by local choreographer, Natosha Washington. Originally from the South, Natosha now lives in Utah and directs a company called The Penguin Lady. A community leader and facilitator, as well as a highly sought-after choreographer, educator, performer and speaker, Natosha, negotiates stereotyping, privilege and identity every day in her work. Say Their Names is a response to contemporary social issues that marginalize populations and individuals.
SPIRIT will launch RDT's 53rd season. During the upcoming year, the MANIFEST DIVERSITY initiative will thread through RDT's commissions, concerts, residencies, classes and workshops for adults and youth, the latter of whom now represents a rapidly escalating global outlook and experience here in the Beehive State.