October 4, 2008

RDT Opener Nothing Short of Perfection

By Scott Iwasaki Deseret News

"THE MESSENGERS," REPERTORY DANCE THEATRE, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Thursday, additional performance Friday and Saturday, 355-2787

Lives of the past and present is the message of the Repertory Dance Theatre's 2008-09 season opener. The human experience emerges through the four diverse works of the night.

The program is nothing short of perfect.

It opens a little differently than past RDT performances. A live overture performed by the avant garde percussion band Partch kicks off the evening.

Partch pays tribute to the late composer Harry Partch. And the percussive tones and textures set the tone for the evening.

The dancing begins with a new work, Andrea Miller's "Springs." The joyful flowing repetitions delight the audience as the bright and contrasting colors bring out the abstract visuals to the forefront.

In fact, while the theme of RDT's season is "Myths and Heroes," the unnamed theme of the opening performance is the abstract.

Ze'eva Cohen's 1985 work "Ariadne," danced Thursday by Chara Huckins-Malaret, is based on the 15 gestures of images found on ancient Hellenic vases.

Huckins-Malaret's striking profile poses and stoic dancing bring to mind statues of ancient Crete.

Partch re-emerges for Elizabeth Winters' 1958 "Castor and Pollux." The ritualistic work, which is inspired by ancient Pueblo rituals and the Hanya Holm dance, is striking in its patterns and, again, contrasting colors.

The audio patterns of the musicians frame the eye-pleasing choreography.

Capping off the evening is Glen Tetley's "Mythical Hunters." The work, which was choreographed in 1965, stands as fresh today as it did more than 40 years ago.

With the help of Ballet West's M. Colleen Hoelscher, Taom Mattingly and Aaron Orlowski, the RDT dancers -- Huckins-Malaret, Nicholas Cendese, Christopher Peddecord, Nathan Shaw and Aaron Wood - - and guest dancers Carly Allred and Yu Chin Chen bring Tetley's physically challenging epic to the stage.

True to Tetley's style, the work isn't only physically challenging but also rhythmical and intense in its presentation.

The Repertory Dance Theatre shows its diversity through these four works and shows once again why it is one of the most respected modern dance companies in the nation.

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