Ruth Christine Walton Ollerton
Christine Ollerton performs in She by Jacque Lynn Bell, honoring Virginia Tanner during RDT’s 50th anniversary season (2015).
Repertory Dance Theatre has lost another member of its cherished dance family.
When Christine Ollerton was invited to become one of the founding members of RDT in 1966, she was already well known in Utah’s dance community. Growing up as one of the gifted young performers in Virginia Tanner’s Children’s Dance Theatre, Chris had performed, toured, and gained the attention of nationally renowned choreographers and teachers while studying at Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School (Steamboat Springs, CO), USC Idyllwild Arts Academy (Idyllwild, CA) and the American Dance Festival (New London, CT).
Chris trained with the masters of modern dance including José Limón, Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Merce Cunningham, Glen Tetley, Bella Lewitsky, Helen Tamiris, Daniel Nagrin. She will be remembered for her strong technical skill and for an unforgettable movement quality that always radiated a genuine and touching performance energy.
She continued her dance studies with Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe in the department of dance at the University of Utah where she received a BS in Education and then spent 1966-68 as a charter member of RDT.
After leaving RDT, Chris continued her career by organizing the dance program at Highland High School in Salt Lake City. She was then invited to redesign, develop and direct the Children’s Dance Program at BYU where she spent the following 30 years producing performances and training thousands of dancers.
RDT will forever be grateful to Chris for her collaboration in restaging “Dance For Walt Whitman” by Helen Tamiris in 1992 featuring guest dancers from BYU. Her memory of the original choreography she had performed in 1961 helped restore an American dance classic which can now be preserved and treasured.
Christine’s love of dance, her extraordinary creativity, and her generosity will be remembered. She contributed to making Utah one of the nation’s most respected centers for dance.