RESET was created by one of RDT’s alumni dancers, Justin Bass, who was also the winner of RDT’s REGALIA Choreographic Competition 2020. The event invited four choreographers to create short works during a four hour period and then the audience selected one of the choreographers to receive a commission.
The COVID 19 pandemic presented many challenges to our organization, our season and our choreographers. We were determined to carry on our artistic plan even though we needed to adapt to the strict regulations outlined to keep our dancers and our audience safe. Dancers were told to wear masks and to distance themselves during rehearsals and performances. Justin needed to create a new work that adhered to the regulations. He choreographed RESET with the strict guidelines and developed a delightful work that skillfully uses simple patterns that both separate and connect the dancers in space. The dancer’s gestures use a kind of hieroglyphic movement alphabet to communicate a sense of community.
Words from Justin
My experience coming back to Repertory Dance Theatre to set “Reset” can be summed up in one phrase and that’s “full circle moment.” When I won Regalia and this commission, I knew that this opportunity was one that I’ve been waiting for. To be able to be on the other side as a choreographer and not the dancer for a company I danced with for five seasons was emotional but perfect timing. During the commission I was able to work with people that I consider family and my main goal was to facilitate an environment where the artist can feel like they can gain something from working with me. In making this piece, if there was one thing I wanted the audience to take away it would be the element of funk and groove. This element of groove and funk also comes from me composing the score and making a tunnel where I knew my movement could thrive and be challenged.
Creating “Reset” during a pandemic wasn’t ideal but I was grateful to have a challenge to work up against because it opened my creative lens to what could be sculpted with limitations. I was recently asked did I accomplish everything I wanted in making this piece and I answered “No.” I gave that answer because I accomplished beyond that and what was needed for that moment. From there on “Reset” will continue to grow from within the dancers and the groovy funk element I have laid as the foundation.
Choreography: Justin Bass
Costumes: Justin Bass
Performance: RDT Company
Justin Bass is from East Cleveland, Ohio and attended Kent State University and majored in Dance Education in 2009. In 2011 he transferred to SUNY Brockport and graduated in 2013 with his BFA in Dance. During his time at SUNY Brockport he was a touring and performing intern with Garth Fagan Dance, performing at renowned stages including The Joyce Theater. Justin was a former dancer for five seasons (2013-2018) with Repertory Dance Theatre. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where he is continuing his choreography, teaching at 92ndÂ Street Y and working for The Wallace Foundation.