Repertory Dance Theatre’s 2018-2019 season was a very special one. While RDT has always been a catapult for furthering people’s understanding of the value of diversity, this past season highlighted this part of our mission specifically. Diversity is a vital part to our very existence as a people and the best place to create positive change is right in your own backyard.
For all three of our home performances we had the honor of sharing the stage with dancers from all over our community. MOSAIC, our November show, was a prime example of this by showcasing performances from local dancers with roots in their respective dances from Greece, Cambodia, Okinawa, Mexico, Spain, and Polynesia. We were also gifted the opportunity to dance with students from Utah Valley University, an amazing group of high school dance teachers from all across Salt Lake Valley and a few incredible freelance dancers.
Even the works we performed this year were diverse in content, age, and the backgrounds of the choreographers who created them. Our oldest piece this year was from the year 1916, while our newest piece was just choreographed in February of this year. I bring up the span of time between pieces in particular because what was being said one-hundred years ago is not so different than what is being said right now. How it is being said, however, is different. This resonated with me the most this year.
If love, compassion, and acceptance are the heartbeats of our being, than diversity is the vessel in which it flows. I am very excited to carry this momentum into the next season as we introduce our newest company member, Jon Kim. I have witnessed the company of dancers change completely from when I first joined myself in 2012.
While there are challenges, there is also a really rewarding exploration phase as everyone figures out how our new configuration fits together. It really does feel like a family as one member leaves and another joins. It is heartbreaking while also being exciting at the same time. There is never a sense of replacing a dancer, only that new possibilities are available with a new member. Reflecting on this past season and knowing what is to come in the future, I can only say how blessed I am to be a part of a family that I am inspired by on a daily basis. I bet he will be too.
Tyler Orcutt was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. He earned his BFA in Modern Dance at the University of South Florida in 2012. Currently, Tyler is in his seventh season with Repertory Dance Theatre.