By Lynne Marie Judd
Ideas of realism and expanding horizons filled Salt Lake City’s Capitol Theater this weekend.
Repertory Dance Theatre opened its 35th season with Worldview IV Friday and Saturday nights.
Each piece in the concert was performed with skill and choreographic perfection. The sets were simple allowing the audience to concentrate on the dancers’ message and movements.
The performance began with a tribute to one of the pioneers of American modern dance, Martha Graham.
The company then performed Diversion of Angels, choreographed by Graham and recently acquired by RDT.
The piece, inspired by a painting by Wassily Kandinsky, represents three aspects of love.
A dancer in white represents mature love. Her movements are stable and secure, moving in perfect harmony with her partner.
A girl in yellow represents adolescent love. Her playful jumping movements reflect the innocence of youth.
Another dancer, dressed in red, represents erotic love. She races across the stage capturing the attention of the other dancers then disappears.
A single dancer accompanied only by a live vocal solo performed the next piece, Motherless Child.
Motherless child was one of two pieces in the performance inspired by the traditions and history of the South African and African-American cultures.
The dancer performed movements of praise, lamentation and searching while the vocalist sang of feeling “a long way from home” and “almost gone.”
The next piece, Vmoya WoMzansi, was a dance originally choreographed for the Jazzart Dance Theatre in Cape Town, South Africa.
The six dancers wore long black skirts with bright colored lining, which could only be seen as the dancers moved.
The background colors varied in shades of red and blue with changes in mood and music.
The piece had the energetic flavor of a small African village and the surrounding wilderness and animals.
A large black square and clear cylinder were the only props seen on a darkened stage as the final piece, Glacier, began.
A constant stream of water poured from above the stage into the cylinder and the music was similar to music heard during the climax of a horror movie.
The piece visualizes a future with limited resources and expanding civilization.
Glacier is the type of dance embraced by some and hated by others. It is not intended to be pretty but real, to make the audience think.
Although the 40-minute piece seemed long, Glacier provided a stirring look at human nature and greed vs. sharing in a crisis situation.
The dancers seemed torn between saving themselves and helping others. At one, point two dancers fought over a small cylinder of water while another distributed water to other dancers.
RDT’s realistic approach to dance did not end with the pieces performed.
The dancers varied in height and build and, while in excellent physical condition, were not the stick-thin wispy figures seen in many dance companies.