Recently, one of our interns sat down and chatted with quite a few of the company members. She noticed that one thing kept coming up throughout all of their conversations — how Repertory Dance Theatre is truly set apart from all the other companies in the world, and especially those here in the U.S.
RDT is a very unique company. It’s the oldest repertory dance company in the country and thus has a rich history. It’s a company that challenges its dancers in new ways with every rehearsal and develops extremely capable movers because of the breadth of repertory that is performed. The dancers in this company are an extremely accomplished group. They have to be.
Jaclyn Brown, company member since 2014, notes the amount of historical work RDT does. She talked about how RDT’s “mission is focused on preserving history in dance.” The works, whether classical, modern, or recent contemporary pieces highlight “where we have been, where we come from, and where are we going.”
As Justin Bass, who joined the Company in 2013, says, “We can wear many hats in one show.” RDT is made up of a diverse body of dancers that “can speak all different languages” whether Jose Limon, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, or the latest, gaga-inspired work based on the contemporary work of Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. Ursula Perry, who joined the Company in 2013, states it this way: “We really do cover everything. Within the 300-something dances in our repertory, we are not only making history, we are preserving it. You have to wear all the hats, shoes, pants, and dresses. You have to be this different era of a dancer sometimes within ten minutes. You are constantly challenged. It’s always very different.”
How many other companies can stake a similar claim? Many factors come together to produce a company that is one-of-a-kind. RDT not only preserves dance history, but also perpetuates the continued creation and support of the art of modern dance in a way that few others have.
Kylee Smith was one of our outstanding 2016 summer interns here. She is currently starting her senior year at Ohio State University with a major in fine arts and a minor in creative writing. It was her major efforts that relaunched this blog. We hope to hear more from her in the future.