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Repertory Dance Theatre Presents EMERGE This January at the Rose Wagner


EMERGE: Sounds Delightful, will embrace a theme this year that is sure to captivate audiences and deliver just what we all need to see… a smile on everyone's face.

Returning for the sixth season, Repertory Dance Theatre presents an evening of choreography by the RDT dancers and Artistic Staff, along with the winner of REGALIA 2021. EMERGE: SOUNDS DELIGHTFUL, presented in the Leona Wagner Black Box Theatre, will feature all-new choreography using lively and upbeat music from the 1930s and 40s.

RDT prides itself on being not only a revolutionary institution of modern dance, but also an incubator for dancers and choreographers. RDT dancers are encouraged to be technically proficient dancers, inspiring teachers, as well as innovative choreographers.

EMERGE: Sounds Delightful, will embrace a musical theme this year that is sure to captivate audiences and deliver just what we all need to see... a smile on everyone's face. As we make a transition into watching dance in theaters again, RDT is feeling a bit nostalgic and looking at the music of the 1930s and '40s as a source of inspiration.

Certainly, every era has experienced challenges and every era has relied on music to help us navigate through those challenges and articulate the energy and optimism of the time. The popular and classical music of the 1930s reflected an era in the grips of the Great Depression. At the time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed to sharply increase public projects in order to raise employment. This overarching strategy was known as the New Deal. Roosevelt realized the importance of the arts in American culture, stating that the "American Dream... was the promise not only of economic and social justice but also of cultural enrichment." In July 1935 a New Deal program known as Federal One was created. This included five arts projects, the first time Federal money was used on culture.

In the 1930s, big bands and swing music were popular, with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller popular bandleaders. Music during the 1940s was built around the jazz and big band styles that were popular. Artists like Rosemary Clooney, Count Basie, and Artie Shaw helped to define the musical era with their unique brand of entertaining crowds through their music. In the 1940s, band singers like Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan went out on their own. War songs became popular.

EMERGE will feature work by six of the current RDT dancers, as well as Artistic Associate, Nicholas Cendese. Also featured is the winner of RDT's 2021 REGALIA Choreography Competition, Kaley Pruitt.

After winning REGALIA in 2021, Kaley Pruitt traveled to Salt Lake in October to create her newest work entitled, Hold. The work is for the full company of eight dancers and is set to the iconic American score, Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, an American composer, pianist, conductor, baritone, and music educator, and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. Composed in 1936, Adagio for Strings is arguably Samuel Barber's best-known work "full of pathos and cathartic passion" and that it "rarely leaves a dry eye."

RDT's Artistic Associate, Nicholas Cendese will be working with students from Utah Valley University to create a new piece. This is part of an ongoing partnership with the Dance Department at Utah Valley University. The students will also be attending RDT's Winterdance Workshop earlier in the week.

Additionally, Cendese will be creating a solo on RDT's most senior dancer, Ursula Perry, who has been part of the company since 2013.

Eighth-year company member Lauren Lenning will present a work featuring her students from Creative Arts Academy. While RDT's two newest dancers -- Lindsey Faber, and Megan O'Brien -- will be working together on a duet.

Jonathan Kim, a dancer since 2019, and Kareem Lewis will each be choreographing a solo. Kim will be choreographing a solo on local dancer Ruby Cabbell who competed in REGALIA 2021 as a choreographer herself. Lewis will be choreographing and performing a solo as a second-year company member.

Like the previous shows in RDT's 56th season, the performance will be both "in-person" at the Rose Wagner and available streaming on-demand. The virtual performance will be available for one month beginning January 14, 2022.

RDT is proud to give this opportunity to our dancers. After five years of presenting this show, it is both exciting and inspiring to see the immense talent of the RDT dancers presenting work of their own.

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