‘Missa Brevis’ symposium will discuss art, faith and war

Rosey Goodman dancing in "Missa Brevis", photo courtesy of Amanda Pratt
Rosey Goodman dancing in “Missa Brevis” (Photo courtesy Amanda Pratt)

Repertory Dance Theater (RDT) in Salt Lake is holding a symposium in conjunction with “Missa Brevis” that will examine the relationship between art, faith and war on Oct. 2.

“Missa Brevis,” José Limón’s choreographic masterpiece, is the centerpiece of RDT’s dance concert, called LEGACY, that features works from many legacies of modern dance. 

RDT symposium offers patrons the opportunity to ask questions about the show beforehand, which is intended to give them a greater appreciation of the show and its themes.

“All too often, concert-goers know that they should appreciate a given work of music or dance event,” said Jerry Jaccard, professor of music education, who is on the symposium panel. “However, masterworks often have a back story, such as the historical or cultural context in which they were created. This symposium is designed to inform the audience about how choreographer José Limón’s famous dance interpretation of composer Zoltán Kodály’s ‘Missa Brevis’ was a reaction to the atrocities of war.”

The symposium will not only review the historical background of “Missa Brevis” but will also allow patrons to hear different viewpoints on the themes of the show.

“Audience members will be able to hear a variety of opinions on the subject of faith, art and war including from a Catholic priest (who is a Polish national), a writer who is a self-described non-believer, a war cinematographer, a dance professor and a specialist on Kodály, the composer of the piece,” said Linda Smith, executive artistic director at RDT.

RDT hopes that both the understanding of the history along with the discussion of themes will help patrons make connections between life and art.

“We believe in exploring themes and developing activities that promote greater awareness of the relationship we have with each other, with nature and with the world community to promote human understanding, compassion and tolerance,” Smith said.

“Missa Brevis” is particularly special to the BYU community because RDT collaborated with BYU Division of Dance, which contributed performers as well as two panelists for the symposium, Caroline Prohosky and Jerry Jaccard.

“This performance is as timely for us today as it was during World War II,” said Jaccard. “It is an appropriate way for Utah people to remind the world that there are better, higher ways to settle conflicts. And, I believe it is also a way for us to remember our many Utah servicemen and women who daily place their lives on the line to protect us and our freedoms.”

LEGACY runs Oct 3–5 at the Rose Wagner Theater. Tickets can be purchased at artTix.org and are half-priced for students.


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