Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre was founded in 1966 as a fully-professional modern dance company through a cooperative effort involving the Salt Lake City community, the University of Utah, and a major grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. This partnership was created to establish a company which would keep alive that unique, artistic achievement which is American Modern Dance.
RDT began as a bold attempt at artistic democracy which gradually evolved as the company selected artistic leadership within its own ranks. A founding member, Linda C. Smith has guided the artistic mission since 1983 and kept the thread of continuity and the “dream” the founding members alive.
Today, RDT is the oldest and most successful company of its kind. We are a living museum representing one hundred years of dance history, preserving the largest and most significant collection of American dance in the world. RDT acquires classic works by significant twentieth century choreographers and also commissions new works for its prestigious repertory. From the legendary Isadora Duncan and Doris Humphrey to the revolutionary Merce Cunningham and Michio Ito, RDT is both a museum and a contemporary gallery representing the scope and diversity of modern dance past and present.
RDT’s mission, to aid in the decentralization of the arts and to reach audiences outside the metropolitan centers, resulted in the creation of a versatile and flexible national touring company which has been seen in more than 300 cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. RDT has performed for diverse audiences from Utah to Europe, in school rooms and opera houses, from gymnasiums to the Kennedy Center. As ambassadors for Utah, RDT proudly represents its community and its art form throughout the world.
The company has a long standing commitment to arts-in-education. In the early 1970’s RDT was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to develop multifaceted arts residency programs for public schools. RDT has created activities which educate audience of all ages through classes, workshops, lectures and performances which reach over 30,000 school students each year in Utah alone. Projects have focused on ecology, literature, history and cultural diversity which give students and teachers tools to increase communication and develop self esteem as they increase their understanding and appreciation of world culture.
RDT strives to broaden the public’s understanding of the art of modern dance through a variety of community based programs and acts as a resource center and laboratory for dancers, choreographers, visual artists, writers and composers. The company offers annual summer workshops and year-round classes to train aspiring professionals as well as inspire the creative potential in people of all ages.