Imagine a world in which classical ballet, modern dance icon Martha Graham, and questions of cultural appropriation collide with clowns, basketball players, and hula dance, and you may begin to grasp the creative force, intelligence, and wit of choreographer Ann Carlson. In “Elizabeth, the dance,” she pays homage to “the visionaries and teachers” of modern dance history. With movement both formal and physically awkward, deliciously surprising and joyfully restrained, Carlson has created an astonishing tribute to modern dance and to the joy of being human.
Alexander Kasser Theater
Share your First Impressions of Elizabeth, the dance with Director and Choreographer Ann Carlson, Artistic Director of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Daniel Charon, and Art + Cultural Programming’s Executive Director, Jedediah Wheeler.
Ann Carlson’s work borrows from the disciplines of dance, performance, theater, visual and conceptual art, and often dismantles conventional boundaries between artist and subject. Carlson’s work takes the form of solo performance, site-specific projects, ensemble dance and theatrical works, and performance/video. She also often works within a series format, creating socially engaged performance structures over a period of years that adapt and tour to multiple sites. Carlson is the recipient of over thirty commissions and numerous awards for her artistic work. Her awards include a 2016 Creative Capital Award, 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in Contemporary Dance, five Multi-Art Production Fund Grants, a USA Artist Fellow-ship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. She was an Artist Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship/Harvard University and atStanford University’s Humanities Center. Carlson has received three awards from the National Choreographic Initiative; a Doris Duke Award for New Work; the first Cal/Arts Alpert Award in Choreography, and a prestigious three-year choreographic fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.Carlson’s project Elizabeth, the dance is a collaboration with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. It is inspired from a section of her White series (1992-1996). Carlson is developing Elizabeth, the dance as a concert dance that traces history and desire through the body of the dancer. Carlson’s Doggie Hamlet, a performance with a herding dog, a flock of sheep, and four human performers began touring the US in 2017. The Symphonic Body, a performance/orchestral work made entirely of gestures, was recently performed by 100 people from across UCLA’s campus at Royce Hall in November 2015.
Artistic Director of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company since 2013, Daniel Charon has been active as a choreographer, teacher, and performer for over twenty-five years. While based in New York City, Daniel maintained a project-based company and danced with Doug Varone and Dancers and theLimón Dance Company. Additionally, he performed with Doug Elkins and Friends, the Metropolitan Opera, the Aquila Theater Company, and the Mary Anthony Dance Theater among others. He is a BFA graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and a MFA graduate of the California Institute of the Arts in Choreography and Integrated Media. As Ririe-Woodbury’s Artistic Director, Daniel has created original works for the stage, gallery installations (Utah Museum of Contemporary Art), and has designed video for his and other choreographers’ works. Daniel is the recipient of City Weekly’s Best of Utah 2016 Award in Choreography for his Together Alone Trilogy. Independently in Salt Lake City, he has shown his work at Mudson and 12 Minutes Max and choreographed The Pearl Fishers, Aida, and Moby-Dick at the Utah Opera. Daniel’s choreography has also been produced by the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival, the Inside/Out Series at Jacob’s Pillow, and the Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA) among others. He has presented multiple full evening concerts in New York City and has been commissioned to choreograph new works for many companies, universities, and festivals around the country.Daniel regularly teaches master classes and workshops nationally and internationally and has taught at the Metropolitan Opera, the Bates Dance Festival, Salt Dance Fest, North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Comprehensive, Varone Summer Dance Workshops, and Limón Summer Workshops. He has been a guest artist at numerous universities and was anadjunct faculty member at Hunter College (NYC) and the California Institute of the Arts. Daniel has staged the works of José Limón, Jirí Kylián, and Doug Varone at schools and companies around the world.Daniel was a freelance web developer and works extensively in the digital realm, creating websites, working with video and interactive technology, and seeking ways to implement media in his work.
Bashaun started dancing in Texas at the age of 16 with Ballet Lubbock under Yvonne Racz-Key. During his final years of high school, he was captain of his varsity basketball team and a member of Ballet Lubbock’s pre-professional company. Bashaun attended the University of Utah Department of Ballet on both academic and artistic merit scholarships, graduating with his BFA in 2011. While at the University of Utah, he danced Principal and Soloist roles in the department’s resident company. Bashaun has worked with Stevan Novakovich, Edward Truitt, Val Caniparoli, Rick Tjia, Johannes Wieland, Bill T. Jones, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, Doug Varone, Keith Johnson, Netta Yerushalmy, Joanna Kotza, Raja Feather Kelly, BrookNotary, and Daniel Charon among others. Bashuan joined the company in 2011.
Originally from Tridell, Utah, Brian joined Ririe-Woodbury for their 55th season. A late starter in dance, Brian initially attended Southern Utah University as a Musical Theater Major, where he was first exposed to the world of concert dance. He eventually transferred to the University of Utah where he graduated in 2016 with a BFA in Ballet (Most Outstanding Senior) and a minor in Modern Dance. He has been lucky enough to dance with BodyVox, Skinner/Kirk, Now-ID, Municipal Ballet Company, and Salt 2. As a theatrical artist, he has had the pleasure of working with companies such as; Tuacahn, Pioneer Theater Company, Utah Shakespeare, Utah Festival Opera. Personal motto: “Always be battement ready”. He is so thankful for the constant support and love from his friends and family.
Yebel Gallegos is a dance artist originally from El Paso, TX. He played an important role in the founding of Cressida Danza Contemporánea in Yucatán, MX. While in Cressida Danza, he served as company teacher, rehearsal director, and principal dancer for five years. In the U.S., he has performed with Dance Theatre X, Sharir + Bustamante Danceworks, and Nickerson-Rossi Dance. He holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and also graduated from Delfos Dance Company’s school, the Mazatlán Professional School of Dance, in Mexico. Yebel has performed the works of Doug Varone, Twyla Tharp, Roberto Olivan, Michael Foley, Claudia LaVista, Lourdes Luna, Jonah Bokaer, Kate Weare, among others. Yebel has traveled as a performer throughout Europe and Latin America and has taught dance throughout Mexico, Chile, and the U.S. Yebel joined the Company in 2013.
A proud Salt Lake City native, Breeanne received her BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah in 2015. During her time there she choreographed various dance and installation based pieces and worked with artists such as Scott Wells, Yanis Adoniou, Eric Handman, Shaun Boyle, and Molly Heller. Since graduating she has performed for the Utah Opera, LajaMartin, Nichele Van Portfleet, Graham Brown, Sackerson, and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company as a guest dancer in 2015 and The Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance in 2018. She has presented her choreography at the Photo Collective, Salt Lake Community College, The Utah Museum of Fine Arts, The Complex, Salt Lake City Library, and most recently she presented an evening length solo performance entitled Amalgamation at The Arts Factory. Breeanne is passionate about making and supporting interdisciplinary work that blurs the lines between dance, theater, installation, and audience immersion. She worked as an Arts in Education Specialist with Tanner Dance from 2015-16 and in 2017 created a platform entitled Open Contemporary Technique (O.C.T.) to teach her own classes and host guest dance artists to teach professional level movement classes and workshops in Salt Lake City. Breeanne joined Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in 2018 and revels in each opportunity to explore various sides of her artistry with the company.
Megan McCarthy (Portland, OR) received her formative training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, and is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts BFA Program in Dance. She has worked with a variety of choreographers, including Julie Bour, Stephanie Nugent, Daniel Charon, Paul Destrooper, and Patrick Kilbane. Megan has been a guest artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Portland Opera, Portland Festival Ballet, Pasadena Dance Theatre, szalt, Nugent Dance, Nickerson-Rossi Dance, and in numerous independent projects. Recently, she danced with Becca Lemme’s Acts of Matter and Rosanna Gamson//World Wide in Los Angeles, and toured to Jacob’s Pillow with The Union Project Dance Company. Additionally, she has had her choreography produced in Portland, OR. Megan joined the Company in 2017.
A native of Southern California, Melissa Younker is a movement artist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since joining Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in 2014 she has had the privilege to embody an array of works by Artistic Director, Daniel Charon, along with choreographers Adam Barrach, Ann Carlson, Tzveta Kassabova, Joanna Kotze, Alwin Nikolais, Netta Yerushalmy, among others. She also works extensively with SLC artist, Molly Heller. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach where she received the Lana Alper Memorial Scholarship. There she worked with John Beasant III, Karen Clippinger, Alex Ketley, Keith Johnson, and more. While in California, she was a freelance artist, director of a children’s performing dance company for 4 years, and faculty for numerous academies. Melissa has toured throughout the United States as a performer and dance educator.
In The News
NJARTS.NET: Peak Performances’ ‘Elizabeth, the dance’ is both provocative and humorous
Choreographer Ann Carlson and her collaborators remind us of this fact in “Elizabeth, the dance,” a provocatively humorous work that the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company of Salt Lake City presented on March 28 at Montclair State University. Performances at the Alexander Kasser Theater will continue through March 31.
AMY FALLS, LOVE DANCE MORE: “Ririe-Woodbury: Elizabeth, the Dance”
…even without the context of her entire body of work, I feel as though I know her voice – so singular is her style of piecing together vocalized text, a never-ending stream of new ideas, and movement that often seems to stem from a natural physicality. “Elizabeth, the dance” truly delighted me…
THE INDEPENDENT: “Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company premiers Ann Carlson’s “Elizabeth, the Dance””Carlson has structured an episodic accumulation of dances that are deliciously surprising and joyfully restrained. “Elizabeth, the dance” traces personal and public histories through the lens of aesthetics, embodiment, and desire — and is accompanied by a blend of popular songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, house music, electro pop, sound effects, and silence, all mixed by a DJ.
Programs in Peak Performances’ 2018-19 season are made possible in part by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.