REGALIA: A Look at the Past

REGALIA: A Look at the Past

This weekend marks the 4th annual Regalia fundraiser for Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT). Every year, RDT receives choreographer applicants from across the nation and selects four artists to compete for a commission in one of RDT’s season concerts. The audience cast their votes and decide which artist will receive the opportunity to create and present work with RDT. The past three years have brought exemplary and gifted artists to Regalia such as David Marchant, Francisco Gella, Marina Harris, Eric Handman, Nick Blaylock, Aubry Dalley, Marty Buhler, Molley Heller, and LajaMartin. But only one artist a year walks away with a commission promised and a blank canvas before them.


The First Year

The first REGALIA was during RDT’s 50th Anniversary, when we decided to shift from the Charette fundraiser into Regalia by creating a competition for choreography. To celebrate our 50th, we reached out to four alumni dancers of RDT: Francisco Gella, Marina Harris, David Marchant, and Andy Noble. From these four wonderful alumni, Andy Noble’s piece was selected by the audience as the winner of the first Regalia.

Andy Noble working during Regalia 2016

In Andy Noble’s career, he danced with RDT for six years, where he performed in over forty choreographic works by such noted masters as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. He also worked with cutting edge contemporary and international artists such as Gideon Obarzanek, Jo Stromgren and Zvi Gotheiner. Andy has received numberous grants for his choreography and has a passion for integrating his choreography with technology. Currently, he is the co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance. For his full biography click here.

The piece he set on RDT dancers, Filament, premiered in RDT’s concert ELAN and showed his interest & knowledge with technology.

Excerpt from “Filament” by Andy Noble

“Noble has incorporated surfaces (essentially 4’ x 8’ Styrofoam boards) on stage upon which images of the dancers’ various movements are projected onto and the performers react, respond and interact accordingly. Filament is an apt title — suggesting the transience, fragility, and ephemeral pop of the emotional, personal, and intimate responses in our world of communication and relationships.”

Les Roka – The Utah Review

Year Two

For Regalia 2017, RDT decided to accept submissions from choreographers. Most submissions came from the local artists of Utah. The four selected were Nick Blaylock, Aubry Dalley, Eric Handman, and Nichele Van Portfleet.

Nichele and dancers at Regalia 2017

Van Portfleet came away with the win by raising the most funds at the event.

Nichele Van Portfleet is dance artist currently living in Salt Lake City. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, working as a dancer choreographer and teacher. While in the Bay she had the honor of working with choreographers Christine Cali, Kristen Daley, Joe Goode, Nancy Lyons, Virginia Mathews & Mo Miner, among others. She relocated to Utah to attend the University of Utah’s Modern Dance graduate program. For her full biography click here.

Her work Flood premiered on our spring concert, CURRENT. We have since brought it on tour across the Western United States.

Excerpt from “Flood” by Nichele Van Portfleet

Flood arises from a perception of organized chaos and the various directions in which people are pulled in and out of line. Van Portfleet interprets principles of physics, laws of momentum and chain reaction in dance movements. Various sections are set as solos, duets and trios but everyone remains on stage throughout the work. She selected instrumental music by Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir that underscores Van Portfleet’s concept of ever flowing movements and lyricism which she sculpts and gives well-defined spaces for the dancers to make choices that mark the relationships she strives to show in the piece.”

Les Roka – The Utah Review


Year Three

By 2018, there was a rhythm to Regalia. Choreographers submitted, four were selected, invitations were sent out, dancers gathered, and the party began.

LajaMartin, Marty Buhler, Bryn Cohn, and Molly Heller competed, with Bryn Cohn coming out on top.

Bryn Cohn at Regalia 2018

Bryn Cohn, originally from California, has been directing Bryn Cohn and Artists company in New York for over seven years. Graduating from California Institute of the Arts, she has commissioned many works for company’s usch as Louis Vuitton, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Billy Bell’s Lunge Dance and many universities. For her full biography click here. Regalia was Cohn’s first time participating in such an event.

Cohn’s work has yet to hit the stage but will be debuted in RDT’s upcoming concert VOICES on April 11th-13th


The Present

It’s 2019 and this weekend Regalia will be in full swing. The four choreographers have been selected and dancers are ready to yield to their artistic minds. Rebecca Aneloski, Nancy Carter, Cat Kamrath, and Dmitri Peskov will only have four hours to bring to life their work. Then the audience will decide and one more artist will be added to the ranks of Regalia alumni. One more blank canvas waits with anticipation for new color and new ideas.

Tickets are still available here.

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