Bach, Beethoven, Puccini, Haydn, Mozart, Prokofiev, Khachaturian...Some of the world's most beloved music seen through the prism of 21st century choreographers.
Local choreographers create short works using familiar classical music. Choreographers include
- Marilyn Berrett
- Nancy Carter (aerialist, and winner of Regalia 2019)
- Nicholas Cendese
- Molly Heller
- Dan Higgins
- Stephen Koester
- Sharee Lane
- John Mead
- Sara Pickett
- Nathan Shaw
- Luc Vanier
- Natosha Washington
Marilyn Berrett received a bachelor's degree in dance performance from the University of Utah in 1979 and a master's degree in dance at BYU in 1984. In 1985, she became a BYU dance faculty member and was appointed Department Chair from 2010-2017. Berrett is the founder of BYU Kinnect, a dance-education outreach company that presents interactive dance assemblies and workshops to over 16,000 children annually. She has artistically directed university and community dance companies, been a master teacher in the Utah Artist in Education program, a certified elementary educator and independent dance artist endorsed in teaching Martha Graham Technique. Her choreography has been featured in award winning films and main stage productions nationally and internationally including several countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Scandinavia, and South America. Berrett presents professional development workshops for arts organizations, dance educators, professional dance companies and universities in the US and abroad. She is the recipient of BYU's Alumni Professorship, Excellence in Teaching award, and grants from the Utah Arts Council, BYU Laycock Center, Leona Holbrook Endowed Chair, Mary Lou Fulton Chair, and BYU Office of Research.
Nancy Simpson Carter is a choreographer, aerialist, bodyworker, and movement researcher from North Carolina. She is in her 9th season teaching and performing with Aerial Arts of Utah, where she also directs the Student Performing Company. As an aerialist Nancy specializes in Lyra and Trapeze, with additional focus on doubles, partner acrobatics and bungee. Nancy earned her BA in Dance from Meredith College and MFA in Modern Dance from The University of Utah. Her resume also sports Certification in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, numerous Nimble Arts aerial teacher trainings and she is an apprentice GYROKINESES® method teacher. Choreography credits include TEDx SLC, Great Salt Lake Fringe Fest, Utah Arts Festival, Sugar Space Artist in Residence, AAU's Flight of Fancy and a fair few places in NC that she can't remember and you've never heard of. Despite performing primarily circus arts over the last several years, Nancy's work remains heavily informed by Contact Improvisation and Somatic practices with her fondest past company credits being improvisational (Movement Forum and The New Pedestrian). Additionally Nancy runs her own business, Rumble Motion Massage and Movement, in downtown Salt Lake. nancysimpsoncarter.com
NICHOLAS CENDESE (Artistic Associate) is a Utah Native who grew a beard in 2012 and his life has never been the same. Before the birth of bearded Nick, he started dancing in 6th grade with Children's Dance Theatre. Years and years of dance training culminated with his graduation from the University of Utah with a BFA in modern dance in 2001 and a job with Repertory Dance Theatre. He performed with RDT for 11 years and is now an Artistic Associate and Development Director. For 8 years, Nick ran his own independent dance company, RawMoves, with Natosha Washington and has taught at Miss Margene's Creative Classroom for 14 years. Nick is also the owner and director of South Valley creative Dance. Thanks to SVCD & RDT Nick has learned more about running a business than any MBA program could teach and has discovered new talents and limitations. He is continually amazed and in awe of the dancers and students he gets to work with and is often just tired enough to get misty eyed and very emotional when watching them dance their hearts out - which reminds him how lucky and fortunate he really is.
Molly Heller holds an M.F.A. from the University of Utah and is currently an Assistant Professor within the School of Dance. She is the Director of Heartland, a multi-disciplinary collective centralized in Salt Lake City, with performances nationally and internationally. Her research investigates performance as a healing practice and the relationship between physical expression and emotion. Molly has also been on faculty at Westminster College (SLC), SUNY New Paltz (NY), and Dance New Amsterdam (NYC) and has taught for: ODC Dance Commons (San Francisco), Shawl Anderson Dance Center (Berkeley), Utah Valley University, Middlebury College (VT), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Creighton University (NE), Salt Dance Fest (University of Utah), Utah Ballet Summer Intensive (University of Utah), Ririe-Woodbury's Professional Intensive (SLC), Boise State University, and Balance Dance Company (Boise, ID).
Molly's choreographic work is an extension of her interest in health and wellbeing, as well as an interweaving of theater practices and dance.
Dan Higgins, a San Francisco, Bay Area native, began dancing at the age of eighteen after a long history with organized sports. The physicality and athleticism directly translated into his love for dance. Dan received his training from the University of Wyoming, obtaining his B.F.A. in Dance Performance. He has worked with many critically acclaimed artists such as, Bill T. Jones, Nina Watt, Noa Zuk, Danielle Agami, Bill Evans, Joanie Smith, Molissa Fenley, and Zvi Gotheiner among others. Dan is a performer, teacher and choreographer who is currently interested in the mergence of semantic expression and body composition as they relate to the human condition. He has expanded his own work under RDT's EMERGE Series and at the Salt Lake Fringe Festival. Other choreographic projects can be seen throughout the states of Utah, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Dan continues to craft his own future work with the art of dance, and is grateful to be able to progress alongside a beautiful community.
Stephen Koester is a Professor Emeritus of the Modern Dance Program at the University of Utah where he served as Chair of the Department of Modern Dance and also Modern Dance Program Head. He was formerly co-Artistic Director of Creach/Koester, an all male dance company based in New York City, which toured throughout the US, Canada and Europe. With partner Terry Creach, Stephen received five consecutive choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, plus a choreographic fellowship from the New York State Foundation for the Arts. Creach and Koester also received the Bonnie Bird North American Choreographic Award along with extensive additional choreographic/company support. In addition to his professional activities with Creach/Koester, Stephen has been a guest artist at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country and continues to choreograph and teach both nationally and internationally. Having made over 140 dances, his work has appeared in the repertories of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Repertory Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, Dance Forum Taipei, among others, including his own company Dance Koester Dance, which has presented several Salt Lake City seasons.
Sharee Lane was a soloist dancer with Ballet West from 1970-1979 under Artistic Directors Willam F. Christiansen and Bruce Marks, and was a member of the Ballet West Artistic Staff and Assistant Director of the Ballet West Conservatory under Artistic Directors, John Hart and Jonas Kage from 1989-1999. As an Associate Professor with the School of Dance (Modern Dance and Ballet Programs), Lane taught Upper and Lower Division Ballet Technique and Pointe, Freshman Seminar, Advanced Principles of Teaching, and Directed, as well as Choreographed for the Modern Dance Program's Performing Dance Company and the Ballet Program's Utah Ballet. Her works have been performed internationally at the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin (Berlin, Germany), and at the Vaganova Dance Society's 20th Anniversary Gala in Edmonton, Canada, and nationally for the Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival at the University of Wyoming, and the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music. In July 2017, Lane retired after 28 years of teaching for the School of Dance, for both the Modern Dance and Ballet Programs, and was granted the prestigious honor of Professor Emerita from the University of Utah's School of Dance.
JOHN MEAD was a dancer with RDT from 1981-1986. He is an internationally recognized choreographer, performer and educator. Working professionally over the past 30 years, he has choreographed over 175 works, which have been performed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States. In 1988, Mr. Mead won the prestigious “Lausanne New Choreographers Competition” hosted by Bejart Ballet Lausanne, Switzerland and worked periodically for four years as a visiting faculty member of the official school of the Bejart Ballet: Rudra Bejart Lausanne. From 1992 to 2000 Mr. Mead was the Artistic Director of John Mead & Dancers in New York City, and was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the New York University Program in Dance Education. Mr. Mead was awarded his PhD in 2015 by the NUS Communication and New Media Department and was further honored by being chosen doctoral Valedictorian for the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In 2005, he founded the John Mead Dance Company in Singapore with his wife, Ms Lim Mei Chian.
Sara Pickett has been teaching and choreographing for major universities, various schools and entertainment companies in Utah and Colorado for over twenty years. Mrs. Pickett is a creator and co-producer of BRINE, a presenting organization for local dance artists in Salt Lake City, now in its sixth season. She is an Assistant Professor Lecturer at University of Utah School of Dance. She received her MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah as a recipient of a University Teaching Award, and her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Weber State University where she was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including the Lindquist Creative Arts Fellowship. She enjoys her roles as a Board member of the Utah Dance Education Organization and the National Water Dance. Mrs. Pickett's choreography has been performed in BRINE, at the University of Utah, Idaho State University, Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Sugarspace, and the American College Dance Festival, among others. She danced professionally with Rick Robinson's Total Control, and was a core member of Millennium, a hip hop dance company in Denver, Co. with Kenny Jimenez.
Nathan Shaw received his BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in 2004. He taught and performed throughout the United States from 2006-2012 as a company member with Repertory Dance Theatre. He was named winner of RDT's Iron Choreographer competition two years in a row. He is currently in his eight year at Judge Memorial Catholic High School where he serves as the first full time high school male dance teacher in Utah. He was named "Teacher of the Year" by the Judge Memorial student body in 2014. Nathan often performs for SBDance and is a charter member of RawMoves Dance Company. He has taught for the Tanner Dance Program and served as Adjunct Faculty for both Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley University Nathan has a passion for Musical Theatre and has appeared in show for Salt Lake Acting Company, Utah Symphony and Opera, and the Egyptian Theater. Nathan is working toward receiving his Master's degree through Utah State University. When not dancing he is usually cleaning up after his two dogs.
Luc Vanier is the founding Director for the School of Dance at the University of Utah. He was a former principal dancer and company choreographer with Ohio Ballet and danced pivotal roles across the U.S. His choreography has been produced at the Joyce Theater in New York City and toured nationally. In 2001, he graduated with his MFA from the University of Illinois and became a certified teacher from the Urbana Center for the Alexander Technique. Since then, Vanier has lectured and presented his research nationally and internationally on the integration of the technique and developmental movement in dance curriculum. In 2011, he co-wrote "Dance and the Alexander Technique: Exploring the Missing Link" published by the University of Illinois press. Before joining the University of Utah, Vanier served as associate director and head of dance at the School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University.
Natosha Washington has been a choreographer and director her entire life, but professionally since 2004, after receiving her bachelor's degree from the University of Utah in Modern Dance. As a student, Natosha's work House of Timothy was selected to be showcased in the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center. It went on to receive the "Best Performance" award and was featured in Dance Magazine. Originally from the south but now living in Utah, Washington is a highly sought after choreography, educator, performer, and speaker. As a voluptuous black woman raised in an LDS southern family, making her way in a white dance community, she has a multifaceted lens; she negotiates stereotyping, privilege, and identity every day in her work and loves the challenge the issues present. Ms. Washington is a talented community leader and facilitator. She recognized art is only as strong as the community it serves. She now directs the department of dance at West High School in SLC.
About the Composers
Click on the Composer to learn more.
Thank you to the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera for providing information on the composers.
SOUNDS FAMILIAR will be performed for about 500 junior high and high school students, and 750 Elementary students. Check out the study guide they are given to help understand the program. Download here>>