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VOYAGE: RDT takes you on a trip through World Dance

VOYAGE: RDT takes you on a trip through World Dance

Using the Utah Core Curriculum Standards for Dance, Social Studies and Language Arts, Repertory Dance Theatre presented a special matinee to over 1,500 students last week at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

American Modern Dance is a rich tapestry which has been influenced by the music and movement of cultures worldwide. Dance has been part of community life as a form of communication, empowerment, and entertainment for centuries. Rhythms and patterns gathered from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas connect the past with the present to illustrate how dance can document history and culture and tell our collective story. Take your own voyage below with some highlights of the concert. You can see excerpts from Voyage Saturday, March 11 at 11:00 AM at RDT’s Ring Around the Rose.


Dance from Africa

The first dances were prayers designed to send messages to the gods … they insured a bountiful harvest and celebrated the important events in the life of the community. A birth, a marriage or a coming-of-age ceremony all involved dance. Dances were thought to give people magical power over the elements … Dances were performed to invite the sun to rise and to bring the rain.

For VOYAGE Rosie Banchero (our RDT Dance Center on Broadway African teacher) taught us a traditional West African dance that we performed with live drummers!

Photo by Sharon Kain


FOLK DANCE around the World and the DABKE

Dabke is a traditional folk dance found all across the Middle East. It combines circle dancing and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. Each country in the Middle East has their own version–some similar and some very different from each other. In some countries, anyone can dance the dabke. In others, it is only allowed for either men or women to dance the dabke.  In Jordan, there are 19 different types of the dabke dance.

Folk dances can be found all over the world and were some of the first dances to bring people together in celebration. Folk dances were used to create a sense of community and mark a special occasion.  What is your heritage and ethnicity? Do you have any folk dances that connect you to your background?  Do you know any of them?

P.S. – RDT will be performing the full evening-length work by Zvi Gotheiner, DABKE, April 6-8, 2017. 


Ethnic dances from Asia have inspired American choreographers. An ancient form of theater in Japan known as Kabuki is a rich blend of music, dance and pantomime. It has spectacular staging and costuming and the movement is performed in a highly stylized manner. Kabuki has been a major theatrical form in Japan for almost 4 centuries and it inspired a Japanese-American dancer named Michio Ito to create modern dances that blend movement from both Eastern and Western Cultures about 100 years ago.

Photo by Sharon Kain


Dance in India goes back thousands of years. It is one of the oldest forms in the world. Most of the classical dance in India has developed from a type of dance/drama in which performers act out a story from Hindu mythology almost exclusively through gestures. The complexity of the footwork lies in elaborate stamping rhythms and many dancers wear bells around their ankles, supplying their own accompaniment. The torso, face, arms and hands are extremely active. The head movement emphasizing the dancer’s changing facial expressions and the movement of the torso is graceful and fluid. The movement of the hands and arms is subtle and elaborate, every gesture has a function and a meaning. Indian dancers have a vast number of gestures through which they express complex events, ideas and emotions. For example, there are 13 gestures of the head, 36 different glances, and 67 hand gestures, that can, in different combinations, yield several thousand different meanings.

Raksha Karpoor (RDT’s Dance Center on Broadway BOLLYWOOD teacher) choreographed this awesome piece for us!

Photo by Sharon Kain


Steppin’ is an African American art form, a form of percussive dance in which the entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word and hand claps. It is jazz, funk, rhythm and blues and rap without instruments.

Photo by Sharon Kain

We’ll be performing excerpts of this show on Saturday, March 11 at RDT’s Ring Around the Rose. Learn more here.

RDT Gift Guide for the Dancer (or dance lover) in your life

RDT Gift Guide for the Dancer (or dance lover) in your life

the ultimate

Dance Classes

Every dancer knows that the only way to get better is to take class! Even our professional dancers take class EVERY DAY to get better, hone their skills and progress.

But you don’t have to be a professional dancer to take class. At RDT’s Dance Center on Broadway, we offer classes for every skill level (even if you’ve never set foot in a dance studio before).

All classes are in the evenings and on weekends, so they fit into your schedule and there’s no long-term commitment! You can drop in to classes as you please.
And …  there’s everything from Modern to Hip Hop to the newly formed Bollywood class!
Check out the full schedule here.

A 10-Class punch-card is good for any class on the schedule and the best bang for your buck.

Purchase Now


If you’d like to purchase a gift card for your loved one in a denomination other than $100, contact us. 🙂

And … if you can’t decide, check out the OPEN HOUSE on January 7. You can dance all day for just $10! Learn more>>

Concert Dance Tickets

Not everyone wants to try dance — they’d rather just watch. And who’s to blame them? Beautiful bodies moving beautifully on stage is really a sight to behold.
Well … you’ve come to the right place. This is our specialty. 😉

RDT has a incredible shows coming up that you won’t want to miss.

For the wild spirit: EMERGEEMERGE_DATE

EMERGE is RDT’s dance choreography showcase, featuring 8 dances by the RDT dancers and Artistic Staff. Dances feature local artists as well as RDT dancers.
It’s the place to be to see the next generation of choreographers. BUY TICKETS HERE>>

For the party animal: REGALIA

REGALIA is not only a choreographic spectacle, but an awesome party! With a VIP ticket  you and your guest will enjoy a generous cocktail hour while you wander the studios of the Rose Wagner to watch dance being created before your very eyes.
Then you’ll devour a scrumptious meal catered by Utah Food Services in the Leona Wagner Black Box Theatre.
Then it’s time to watch the newly created REGALIA_datedances on stage by 4 competing choreographers who have been selected for the experience, artistry, and wit.
After which you get to vote for your favorite to win an RDT commission for next year!
Afterwards, join the whole cast and audience on stage to dance the night away with the Joe Muscolino Band.
A seriously awesome evening.


Not quite in your price range? Check out the Performance Ticket for just $50. You’ll see the full performance and get to dance on stage after the show!


15109588_10154192988690197_7574637109403919961_nFor the undecided: ArtTix Gift card

You can purchase ArtTix gift cards so they can choose the RDT show they want to see!

Click here to purchase

 RDT-79_dan_winterdanceWinter Workshop

For the semi-professional/pre-professional dancer in your life. Check out WINTERDANCE, for the dancer who is really serious.
Students will work with RDT dancers in technique, improv, composition, and … even learn a piece to perform at RDT’s concert EMERGE, January 6-7!

Learn more>>


 Kneeotech Yoga/Dance Pants

If you’ve ever taken a dance class, you’ve probably had some aches in your knees. Kneeotech by Evolution Activewear has the solution. Their stylish yoga pants have knee-pads built right in. So you can take yourself to the floor with ease and not worry about your knees turning as purple as RDT’s logo. 😉

RDT endorses Kneeotech and loves wearing these awesome pants in rehearsal. Check out the RDT dancers trying them out!


Support Everyone’s Favorite Dance Company

While everyone loves getting “things” …  sometimes the gift that means the most is the gift of giving back.
If RDT means a lot to you (or someone you care about), consider making a donation to help us continue to create, preserve, perform, and perpetuate the art of modern dance.
You can earmark your gift for for a variety of programs, including RDT’s school outreach throughout Utah; a particular upcoming concert; RDT’s children’s series Ring Around the Rose; or a particular upcoming commission or reconstruction.

Donate Now


If you’d like to make a donation in someone’s name as a gift, including a membership in RDT’s new Sustainers Club (with cool perks!), just click “This is a tribute donation” when prompted. 



MERCHANT_PARTNERS300X300And one final idea…

If the best idea for your loved one isn’t on this list … consider SHOPPING TO SUPPORT RDT.
You can use this link to shop at some of your favorite retailers (only some of which are shown here), and RDT will get a percentage back in return!
And all you have to do is shop!
Shop to Support

Or check out the RDT Gift Shop for some awesome T-shirts!

Shop Now

Ring Around the Rose Season kicks off!

Ring Around the Rose Season kicks off!

RDT’s Ring Around the Rose is a series of performances at our home, the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center that Repertory Dance Theatre presents each year. On the second Saturday of every month from September through May, we present a different performing arts group to an audience of children and their families.

On Saturday, September 10, the 19th season of Ring Around the Rose kicked off with one of our favorites … AFRICAN DRUMS! Deja Mitchell brought in a guest artist, Derrell “Sekou Soumah” Walker from Portland, Oregon and the two of them gave us all a look at African drumming and dancing.

Check out the fun we all had!

Check out our new photo booth for this year! Take photos in the lobby next time you come.
Our new photo booth this year will allow you to take photos in the lobby next time you come! Then, share them with your friends!


Our host for the show, Derrell "Sekou Soumah" Walker.
Our host for the show, Derrell “Sekou Soumah” Walker.


The audience takes their turn at playing the "djembes."
The audience takes their turn at playing the “djembes.”


More audience members try their hand!
More audience members try their hand!


Sekou Soumah smiles as he teaches the rhythms of West Africa.
Sekou Soumah smiles as he teaches the rhythms of West Africa.


The audience got to learn some authentic African dance moves!
The audience got to learn some authentic African dance moves!


Sekou Soumah let the audience follow along to learn the moves
Sekou Soumah let the audience follow along to learn the moves


We all had so much fun!
We all had so much fun!

Next month, we are thrilled to have Plan-B Theatre Company on the season for the first time! They will be presenting, THE EDIBLE COMPLEX on October 8.

Created for grades 4-6, THE EDIBLE COMPLEX is a comedy about ten-year-old Anna, who dreams of being a chef. She is also becoming aware of how her body is different from others at school. So, one day she decides to stop eating, but it’s hard to ignore your Food when it starts talking to you!

Featuring Anne Louise Brings and Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, designed by Aaron Swenson, and directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff, THE EDIBLE COMPLEX is just one of 9 concerts that make up this year’s beloved Ring Around the Rose. And at just $5 per ticket ($4 if you buy a season package), it won’t break the bank to get your kids into an interactive, “wiggle-friendly” outing that will make them smile as big as Sekou Soumah’s at AFRICAN DRUMS!

Get tickets now>>

My Hands: Inspiration and Creative Aging

My Hands: Inspiration and Creative Aging

Sagewood_1My Hands …

How would you finish that statement?

This simple prompt is a wonderful beginning to an exercise that I learned at a Creative Aging workshop sponsored by engAGE Utah that helped artists learn how to build and implement creative artistic classes for seniors.

Creative Aging is a blossoming field that has grown thanks to the serious and concerted efforts of several leaders like Dr. Gene Cohen, Susan Perlstein, and Stuart Kandell. Over the past several decades, these leaders, and others, have worked to change the culture that surrounds aging adults and have helped to build an understanding that everyone wants to continue learning throughout their lifetime.

It’s odd to think that there was a time when people didn’t realize that learning through life – not just during your younger years – is essential to being a happy and healthy person. Artists have always known that the arts and creative thinking are vital to finding enjoyment and passion at any stage of life, but we are only now beginning to create programs that address the needs of life-long learners, especially for those aged 65+.

When it Sagewood_2comes to creative aging and art classes for seniors, it’s important to remember that each adult chooses to be there with you. As such, they want to feel that they are making social connections with others as well as learning and experiencing something new. Creative arts classes give the teacher and students the opportunity to share stories about their lives and experiences, make new connections with others, and learn something new about art and the artistic process.

Repertory Dance Theatre started a pilot program with Sagewood at Daybreak, a senior living center in South Jordan, in May. Since then, a few of our dancers and staff have been heading out to Daybreak once a week to work with residents from different units at the center, including memory care.

Whether we stay seated in a chair or get up and walk around and move through space, these classes offer the residents of Sagewood an opportunity to move, to learn some new, and to build connections with those who live around them. It also offers the teacher an endless amount of inspiration and joy.

You can always sense the hesitation when the class starts. People who don’t move very often are wary of being asked to do something they won’t be able to do.  But after a few assurances and words of encouragement even the residents who don’t move very often start to use their arms and hands in new ways. Smiles abound as you talk and play different styles of music. Some just sit and watch, tapping their toes to the beat. After almost every class, it’s hard not to leave feeling inspired.

I had the joy of working with a group of about 10 seniors this past week. One of the exercises we did was “My Hands… .” It’s a simple prompt but it takes on such deep and touching meaning when you are working with people who have lived so much.

We started by looking at our hands. Thinking about all that they have done, accomplished, created. I asked those who were comfortable to finish that sentence.

“My hands played the piano …”

“My hands held my babies …”

“My hands clapped for the children …”

“My hands wiped away the tears …”

Sagewood_3Such touching and simple statements were then paired with movements. We did everything sitting down so no one would have to worry about balance or getting too tired. Everyone participated in their own way, mouthing the words or stating them out loud, as we built our poem and gesture dance. The gestures we came up with were simple but meaningful.

As we built the movement poem, the energy in the room changed. We learned something special about each person. We connected on an artistic level that left everyone feeling uplifted and inspired.

If you’d like to know more about Creative Aging, take a look at the National Center for Creative Aging website at: or visit EngAGE Utah’s website at:

Nick Cendese is an Artistic Associate with Repertory Dance Theatre and currently works in the office, the studio, in the schools, and every place in between teaching, coaching, choreographing and spreading his love of modern dance.