Utahns are fortunate to have in their midst a wealth of dance companies, ranging from a professional ballet company often rated among the nation's top five, through nationally recognized modern dance companies to excellent student organizations.
BALLET WEST, founded by Willam Christensen and Glenn Walker Wallace, just concluded its 25th anniversary season under the artistic direction of John Hart. Repertory ranges from the big classics, such as "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty," to contemporary choreographies by important moderns such as Sir Frederick Ashton, Andre Prokovsky, Michael Smuin and Val Caniparoli.With headquarters in the Capitol Theater, the 43-member company has 46 weeks of employment, including a good deal of regional and national touring. Appearances in the theater include usually four "seasons," or runs of a program, with six performances each, curtain at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets ranging from $36 to $6 (Students $4) are available at the theater, 533-5555. In addition, this year's annual "Nutcracker" season offers 21 performances Dec. 14-28.
THE REPERTORY DANCE THEATRE was created in 1966 under a Rockefeller grant, with the mandate to be a repository for modern dance choreography. The company has richly fulfilled its purpose; historic programs, reconstructions and new works commissioned or given to the company comprise a stimulating repertory that includes works from nearly every modern dance choreographer of note. Linda C. Smith, a charter member, is artistic director of the eight-member troupe. RDT still tours nationally and regionally, but was greatly curtailed when the national dance touring program of the NEA was eliminated.
In Salt Lake City, RDT gives two concerts yearly, sometimes three. Sometimes both are at the Capitol Theater, or one may be in Kingsbury Hall. Tickets range from $8-20, with student, senior citizen and group discounts. Call 581-6702.
THE RIRIE-WOODBURY DANCE COMPANY, an innovative modern troupe, depends for much of its choreography upon its co-founders, Shirley Russon Ririe and Joan Woodbury, though national figures such as Murray Louis, Alwin Nikolais, Kei Tekei, Jamey Hampton, and Moses Pendleton-Alison Chase contribute. Humor (even zaniness), imagination, daring and a clearly distinguishable style characterize these six excellent dancers. At one time the most widely toured company in the NEA's dance in schools program, R-W still dances many tour appearances both foreign and domestic, and school residencies.
Ririe-Woodbury dances in the Capitol Theater twice yearly, spring and fall, and presents a block of programs for school children, this year in February. Ticket range is $25-$8, with student, senior citizen and group discounts. Telephone 328-1062.
THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH DANCE DEPARTMENT, besides student showcases, offers its two elite performing groups twice yearly. Each appears in fall in the Dance Building Theater, in spring at Kingsbury Hall.
The Performing Danscompany, founded and directed by Loa Clawson, is a frequent winner in regional collegiate dance competitions, has danced regularly at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and recently toured China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Its scholarship dancers, usually around 10 in number, present a consistently good program of choreographies by Clawson, other U. faculty, students and guests. Telephone 581-7327.
The Utah Ballet, of similar size, is directed by Conrad Ludlow, who is its frequent choreographer as well, along with talented teachers, students and guests. These scholarship dancers tour Utah schools and communities. The company is a training ground for Ballet West and other companies, which nearly deplete its ranks each spring. Telephone 581-8231.
The Children's Dance Theatre, performing arm of the University of Utah's Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program, is comprised of some 180 children ages 7-18. Led by Mary Ann Lee, company members tour Utah schools and make national and even international appearances, such as Wolf Trap Farms in 1986, and the International Dance and the Child conference in London last summer. Watch for their concert at the Capitol Theater in April. For information, call 581-7374.