RDT presents Legacy


October 3-5, 2013
Jeanne Wagner Theatre
Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center
Jeanne Wagner Theatre 7:30 pm

Tickets $30 in advance* ($15 seniors/students)
Tickets available through ArtTix | 801-355-ARTS | www.artTix.org
*Tickets will increase by $5 on the night of the performance.


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Missa Brevis: Nexus of Faith, Art and War, a symposium

DATE: Oct. 2, 2013
TIME: 7:00 pm
LOCATION: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA), 20 S. West Temple (801) 328-4201 (adjacent to Abravanel Symphony Hall)

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RDT begins our 48th season with a tribute to our dance legacy.

The centerpiece for this stirring concert is modern dance legend, Jose Limon’s masterwork, “Missa Brevis.” Also on the concert are works by Doris Humphrey, Ted Shawn, Bill Evans, and Ze'eva Cohen -- all legacies in the history of modern dance and of RDT.


"Missa Brevis" (1958)
Choreography: Jose Limon

This monumental work is a memento to cities destroyed during World War II and to those unconquerable qualities in human beings that compel the spirit to rise in hope and to survive. The choreography features 22 dancers including RDT and guests from BYU Division of Dance and Utah Valley University who will perform to a powerful score by Zoltan Kodaly.


"Solvent" and "Unfolding & Folding" (from Kenitic Molpai, 1935)
Choreography: Ted Shawn 

Ted Shawn had often had to endure the public’s prejudice against male dancers and the major goal of his career was “to try to sell the public, the press, and the educators of America on the legitimacy of dancing as a serious career for men.

KINETIC MOLPAI, which he created in 1935 for his Men Dancers, exemplified Shawn’s determination to give dancing a virile yet artistic form.  "Solvent," and "Unfolding and Folding" are two solos from that work and were danced by Shawn as the priestly leader of a band of athletic, competitive, yet ultimately harmonious young men.

"Two Ecstatic Themes" (1931)
Choreography: Doris Humphrey


"Two Ecstatic Themes," created in 1931, examines spatial as well as psychological territory. The spiral curve (protective and submissive) and the angle (pointed and assertive) represent the two inseparable elements of life as well as of design as we see the dancer struggle toward the ecstasy of personal fulfillment.


for betty

"For Betty" (1970)
Choreography: Bill Evans

"For Betty" was created by one of RDT’s most prolific dancer/choreographers in 1970. Bill Evans dedicated the work to Dr Elizabeth Hayes, who was the Chair of the Modern Dance Department at the time and whose teaching career spanned 48 years. This joyous piece is filled with luscious movement and lively leaping. When first choreographed, "For Betty"was performed all over the country and became an audience favorite.

"Ariadne" (1985) 
Choreography: Ze’eva Cohen

Ariadne first appears in the form of a fallen statue. She comes to life as a young woman attempting to make peace with her past, which she reconstructs by linking together fragments of her history based on 15 gestures as found in ancient Helenic vases. In Greek Mythology, Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos of Crete. She gives Theseus the Golden Thread which enables him to find the way out of the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur and thus lifting a curse from the city. Ariadne then elopes with Theseus when he leaves to claim the throne in Athens, only to be later abandoned by him on the island of Naxos.





José Limón (1908-1972) was a crucial figure in the development of modern dance: his powerful dancing shifted perceptions of the male dancer, while his choreography continues to bring a dramatic vision of dance to audiences around the world. Born in Mexico, Limón moved to New York City in 1928 after a year at UCLA as an art major. It was here that he saw his first dance program:

“What I saw simply and irrevocably changed my life. I saw the dance as a vision of ineffable power. A man could, with dignity and towering majesty, dance… dance as Michelangelo’s visions dance and as the music of Bach dances.”

In 1946, after studying and performing for 10 years with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, he established his own company with Humphrey as Artistic Director. During her tenure, Humphrey choreographed many pieces for the Limón Dance Company, and it was under her experienced directorial eye that Limón created his signature dance, The Moor’s Pavane (1949). Limón’s choreographic works were quickly recognized as masterpieces and the Company itself became a landmark of American dance. Many of his dances—There is a Time, Missa Brevis, Psalm, The Winged—are considered classics of modern dance.

Limón was a consistently productive choreographer until his death in 1972—he choreographed at least one new piece each year—and he was also an influential teacher and advocate for modern dance. He was in residence each summer at the American Dance Festival, a key faculty member in The Juilliard School’s Dance Division beginning in 1953, and the director of Lincoln Center’s American Dance Theatre from 1964-65. Limón received two Dance Magazine Awards, the Capezio Award and honorary doctorates from four universities in recognition of his achievements. He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, The Dance Heroes of José Limón (Fall 1996), and in 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. His autobiographical writings, An Unfinished Memoir, were edited by Lynn Garafola and published in 1999 by Wesleyan University Press.

Doris Humphrey (1895 – 1958) is one of the founders of American modern dance. She created a distinctive approach to movement based on the body’s relationship to gravity and the use of weight, and her choreographic works are considered classics of modern dance.

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Humphrey was an avid dance student from a young age, and she opened her own dance studio after graduating from high school. She moved to Los Angeles in 1917 to join the Denishawn School and Company, where she performed and taught until 1928, when she and Charles Weidman left to form their own group in New York. Between 1928 and 1944, she choreographed and performed for the Humphrey-Weidman Company, an artistic collaboration that produced ground-breaking dances as well as outstanding performers, José Limón among them. When physical disability ended her career as a dancer, she became the artistic director and mentor for Limón and his company, creating classic works such as Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1946), Day on Earth (1947), Invention (1949), and Night Spell (1951). Her final artistic contribution, The Art of Making Dances, was published in 1959 and remains an essential text on choreographic principles.


Ted Shawn (1892-1972), a former divinity student, was introduced to dance as therapy after an illness. His rehabilitation program included ballet lessons, which led to a career in dance. He and his wife, Ruth St. Denis, were co-founders of a company and a school called Denishawn (1915-1931). It toured the world and trained the next generation of ‘modern’ dancers, including Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and Martha Graham. Shawn incorporated ethnic and especially American Indian dances into his choreography. He also sought to make dance an accepted, legitimate profession for men and created an all male company in 1933 that established male dancing as a virile form of art expression. In 1930, Ted Shawn built Jacob’s Pillow in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. This became his home, school, and the base for Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers, which toured in the US and abroad for seven years.

Bill Evans is an internationally-known choreographer, performer, teacher, administrator, and movement analyst. More than 200 of Evans' works have been performed by professional and pre-professional ballet, modern dance, and tap companies through the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Europe and New Zealand. He was a leading dancer and major choreographer with Utah Repertory Dance Theatre (1968-74). In 1970, he founded the Bill Evans Solo Dance Repertory. He is currently the Artistic Director for the Bill Evans Dance Company (founded in 1975) and the Bill Evans Rhythm Tap Ensemble (founded in 1992). He is Emeritus Professor of Dance at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he served as a full-time faculty member from 1988-2004. Bill Evans has made thousands of appearances will ballet, modern dance and tap companies, and as a solo concert artist. As a choreographer, Evans is known for his diversity, range of expression and rhythmic inventiveness. One of his foremost achievements has been the creation of a modern dance technique that emphasizes total mind-body integration and that has influenced numerous dancers and dance teachers since 1976.

Ze’eva Cohen is a dancer, choreographer, and former dance professor at Princeton University.  Cohen came to New York from her native country, Israel, in 1963 to study at the Julliard School and perform with the Anna Sokolow Dance Company.  She was also a founding member of Dance Theater Workshop, where she worked as a choreographer and dancer from the mid-sixties to the early seventies.

In 1971, she initiated her pioneering and highly acclaimed solo dance repertory program, which toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel for twelve years under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Arts Residency Touring Dance Program.  The repertory included commissioned works, reconstructions, and her own original choreography comprising twenty-eight solos by twenty-three choreographers.  In 1983, she founded Ze’eva Cohen and Dancers, a company for which she developed a diverse group repertory, performing in New York and on national tours.  Cohen has also choreographed works for the Boston Ballet, Munich Tanzproject, Batsheva Dance Company, Inbal Dance Theater of Israel, The Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Company, and many other national dance companies.  Since 1996, she has been choreographing, producing, and performing Negotiations and, later, Female Mythologies, programs dealing with cultural, political, and social issues, focusing on women’s myths and lives.








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