The artistic director of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City will step down at the end of its 49th season in June 2013, the company announced in a news release.
Charlotte Boye-Christensen became the artistic director of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in 2002. Born in Copenhagen, Boye-Christensen started dancing when she was 9 and moved to London at 17 to receive formal training at London Contemporary Dance School and the Laban Centre. After completing a master of fine arts degree in dance at Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, she worked as a choreographer for several different companies and universities as well as working as a solo artist.
Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury, co-founders of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and former professors of dance at the University of Utah, hired Boye-Christensen as the artistic director for the company. Ten years later, Boye-Christensen has created 28 pieces for the company and helped bring in many noted choreographers from around the world.
"My goal coming in was to help create a company that was thoroughly contemporary in its outlook, one that could stand its ground with other companies internationally because of its willingness to take creative risks and be forward thinking and cutting-edge in its core philosophy," Boye-Christensen wrote in an email interview with the Deseret News.
Boye-Christensen also focused on building the company's reputation by inviting a diverse group of choreographers, supporting "in house" experimentation and developing a new audience for contemporary dance. She said her favorite moments in the company have been when she was involved in collaborations and spending time in the studio with the dancers.
"When you are creating a new work, you go through such a variety of intense emotions," she said. "When things work intuitively, there is such joy. When they don't, there is such frustration. You laugh, you cry, you think, you feel — it is life!"
After leaving Ririe-Woodbury, she plans to develop her own work and accept commissions. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with the company and determined to push the limits in her own work.
"I want to now push that level of experimentation further in my own work freely, by thinking outside of the box," she said.
Boye-Christensen's last season will consist of four shows, titled "Four," "Three," "Two" and "One" in a countdown to the company's 50th anniversary, beginning Sept. 20-22, in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Each includes works by renowned choreographers and artists from all over the world. Details about each performance and tickets are available on ririewoodbury.com.
On behalf of the company, managing director Jena Woodbury wished Boye-Christensen well.
"The company supports her decision to leave and plans to celebrate her legacy," Woodbury said in a news release. "Charlotte is eager to see the company move forward in a positive fashion and is solidifying our major choreographic collaborations for our 50th anniversary celebration. ... We thank her for her dedication to the company and wish her nothing but great success in her new adventures."
Ririe-Woodbury will begin a national search for a new artistic director in the upcoming year.