Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Absolute FOCUS

Yeah, so I like contemporary dance. Get used to it because I’ll probably talk about it regularly. But hey, even some of my friends are starting to come around. And it’s no wonder when you see shows like Ririe-Woodbury’s spring performance entitled Focus.

There was a time, a few years back when I thought Ririe-Woodbury had lost its edge. The performances were lackluster and the dancers looked bored. But ever since the arrival of Charlotte Boye-Christensen in 2002 the company is back in top form.

For the most recent performance the dancers lived up to the title with a focus that demonstrated whip-smart technique. The evening featured stunning crispness when you wanted it and lush fluidity when the choreography demanded it. The only way this type of performance works is if the dancers are in tip-top shape and well rehearsed. The dancers delivered.

Charlotte isn’t just the source of the company’s revived energy; she also brings immense talent as a choreographer. Two of the works on the program were hers including an inventive interpretation of Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Women of Venice. The piece (Siesta, 1995) replaces Giacometti’s three nuns with male dancers moving to music of Bizet’s Carmen. I’ve seen this work before but it just seems to be more rewarding each time I watch it.

Other works on the program included Lines to Read Between choreographed by John Utans and Tomorrow by Doug Verone.

If you’re one of those locals who blathers on about how “real” art doesn’t exist in Salt Lake City, I challenge you to attend a Ririe-Woodbury performance. There's a reason this company spends more time touring the world than performing for Salt Lake City audiences.

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