Upon starting the 2019-2020 season with Repertory Dance Theatre, I found myself thrust into the moment. In the dance world, there is never enough rehearsal time and never too much preparation because our art can always dig deeper and discover new depths.
As the newest dancer just starting my first year, this proved true. Besides learning INSIDE OUTSIDE, our season opener, I had to catch up on dances from the education outreach programs and lecture demonstrations. The sheer number of pieces in rotation during a season is startling. With the help of the other company members, I was able to obtain an understanding of what these dances hold and what they can express. Their guidance also proved crucial in learning how the company functions and how space is navigated within Repertory Dance Theatre.
These past months have been a blur of triumphs, humbling moments, and a realization that when I struggle, I am able to rely on the people around me. But when I look back on this first season, I know that the strongest memories will be from our first run of performances in Salt Lake City.
INSIDE OUTSIDE was a blissfully challenging experience. We began the season by learning Invention, choreographed by Doris Humphrey and re-staged by Nina Watt. The classic modern technique required was an exacting task placed before us. Watching the other company members process and dive into the historical work gave me an insight into my own approach, and Nina’s understanding of the piece provided a rich and detailed framework for discovery.
Next, we delved into the Gaga movement language under Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof while learning Outdoors, a half of a larger piece titled Shutdown. We were joined by University of Utah students Severin Sargent-Catterton and Laura Baumeister. The ideas of groove, sensation, and research were highlighted and truly resonated with each of us. The drastic change of approach between classical and contemporary work is something unique to a company like Repertory Dance Theatre and is one of the main reasons this company intrigues me.
After, we learned Something About Night, a contemporary ballet piece choreographed by Lar Lubovitch and restaged by Kate Skarpetowska. The quiet power instilled within the music and movement proved deceptively complicated, but Kate’s clarity and ability to communicate made this another extremely enjoyable and rewarding process.
Filament, choreographed by Andy Noble and originally set on the company in 2016, was re-staged by company member Elle Johansson. Her understanding of the piece and meticulous research enabled us to quickly get the piece back up and running, and Andy was able to come in and reshape moments. This piece utilized projections and explored the intersection of the dancing body with technology, a subject examined in Noble’s work. Working within this world required an understanding of all the separate moving parts and how they were brought into a whole.
Each piece spoke about experiences and beliefs that were important to the specific choreographer and pushed us all to embody those ideals. As a company, we had to engage in the mental task of continually honing and refining our approach to each piece while maintaining integrity. There was always more to understand, to let flow, and sink into with each rehearsal and hour spent in preparation. It was all worthwhile. I am extremely thankful to be a part of Repertory Dance Theatre, and I cannot wait to continue this journey.
Jonathan Kim graduated from California State University, Fullerton in 2017 and joined Repertory Dance Theatre in 2019. Previously, he performed with SALT Contemporary Dance, SJDanceCo, and Lineage Dance Company. He in inspired by improvisational methods, his parents, and the rollercoaster called life.