For the past seven years, Salt Lake has been my home and Repertory Dance Theatre my family. Last year, I made a difficult decision that RDT’s 2019/2020 season would be my last with the company. Saying “farewell” next year will be one of the toughest things I have to do.
“RDT is the best University,” is something my boss, Linda Smith, says jokingly on occasions. Jokingly because sure, you’re not paying for a diploma but what she is referring to is the amount of experience and growth one gains during their time on the company. To say I have simply learned a lot would be an understatement. While there is so much I could write about, I am going to focus on the most important lesson that I will carry with me forever: the importance of growth.
When writing about growth, there are so many possibilities in what this can mean. It could mean personal growth as a dancer, an artist, and a human being. Or growth in the way one sees the world. Or even the significance of helping others grow, be it your colleagues, students, or anyone else who shares your city, or your world, and also calls it “home”. When I write about “growth”, I write about all of the above.
I live for the feeling of bare feet on stage in front of a live audience, there is nothing quite like it.Tyler Orcutt
There are so many facets of what RDT does that makes me love my craft more and more each day. I thrive on the challenge and difficulty of making myself a better physical mover than I was yesterday. This way my body can reach the hidden corners of my own and others’ imaginations. I live for the feeling of bare feet on stage in front of a live audience, there is nothing quite like it. I have a passion for learning from those around me, be it “art” related or not, as I find all experiences intertwined in the end. Finally, and most importantly, I am inspired by the next generation of kids who showcase their growth in the most outward of ways.
What does this all mean though? I can only give a subjective answer from my own personal experience. I think it means that we are growing to become better people. Dance just happens to be my way of doing it. Dance, but more importantly art as a whole, changes people. It opens an entirely new world for someone to dive into and accept as an exciting new reality. While this is true for literally everything (for example, a dancer like myself falling in love with math) I’m specifically writing and advocating for the arts here as it is where I have obtained the majority of my own growth, as well as the fact that art is under-represented and under-funded.
I look at the world through a different set of lenses than I did in 2012, the year I joined RDT. I have the company, my boss and leader, and all of those around me to thank for this. The time I’ve spent with RDT and the time I’ve spent in Salt Lake will forever remain one of the most important pieces of who I am now. I will cherish my remaining time here, as there is still so much more growth to be had.
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 eighth season with Repertory Dance Theatre.